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Rail security concerns after SNP and Tory establishment left in complete disarray by BTP merger fiasco

26 January 2018

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes is calling on SNP first minister Nicola Sturgeon to sack her Justice Minister and Prime Minister Theresa May to get a grip of Britain's rail security as a matter of urgency after revelations this week that Police Scotland is refusing to go ahead with the SNP's proposed merger with British Transport Police (BTP) in Scotland.

Cortes is further accusing the Scottish Government of being in "complete disarray in a fiasco of their own making" and says  Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has behaved  in a desperate manner, ill-becoming to  his office, for  issuing "Donald Trump style tweets"  to comment on justice not transport policy at a time when Scottish Justice Minister Michael Matheson is under fire for misleading the Scottish Parliament. 

Says Cortes: "Nicola Sturgeon really needs to get a grip of this serious threat to national security from her own ministerial team. The SNP's detirmination to merge BTP has been shambolic from start to finish. It's been driven by Michael Matheson who has put nationalist interest over national security at ever step of the way. Terrorists do not recognise borders. 

"The SNP policy got shafted this week by Police Scotland themselves whose internal documents show they have no intention of going through with the merger on the grounds that the proposal is operationally unsafe.

"That is a matter of comment for the Scottish Justice Minister Michael Matheson or the First Minister herself, but not the Transport Minister. Alll the way through our campaign to save BTP from SNP vandalism, Humza Yousaf has insisted to me both in public and in private that the matter was beyond his remit belonging to the brief of the Justice Secretary."

 "So," continued Cortes, "to find him angrily tweeting out opinion, Donald Trump-style to falsely insist that the merger of BTP with Police Scotland will go ahead because it is the will of the Scottish people, is not just fake news it's him overstepping his brief for which the First Minister must censure him. 
Humza tweet 24.1.18

"Where is the evidence that this is the will of the Scottish people? They never voted on it. And what's more 10,000 plus people signed a petition after warnings from rail unions, BTP and BTP Federation, train operating companies, passenger groups all warning that the break up of BTP was politically driven and operationally dangerous. It will reduce the security and efficiency of rail travel into and out of, as well as, across Scotland. 

"But Humza I guess is feeling the pressure because Justice Minister Michael Matheson is a man whose word and  political judgement cannot be trusted . He's under fire for misleading Parliament about why he has left Scotland without a Chief Constable for so long. But fortunately his efforts to decapitate BTP have also hit the buffers. 

"The man is now a laughing stock and is clearly unfit for office. He should have had the decency to fall on his sword. He has chosen not and Sturgeon should boot him or be forever stained by this failure of due diligence with national security. It's clear the SNP are now in complete disarray in a fiasco of their own making. 

"Neither can Prime Minster Theresa May escape responsibility for her inaction on this issue. It is the first job of her government to keep our citizens safe. She has let the SNP ride rough shod over BTP without lifting a finger to support them. So time now for there PM to step in immediately to reassure the rail travelling public that their security is being taken seriously by the Westminster government and finally get behind retaining BTP as a viable, successful and independent railway police."

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