Compensating Passengers for Timetable Chaos

This week in the Commons I once again raised the issue of the Thameslink timetable chaos, now in its seventh week, pointing out that steam trains a century ago provided a more reliable service.

I called for compensation for season-ticket holders, to be paid for by GTR’s shareholders, not the taxpayer, and I also met senior GTR and Network Rail managers.

A revised timetable will be introduced on 15 July, and rail executives hope that this will provide a more reliable peak-time service.  It could hardly be worse.  Last week over 300 trains were cancelled at Hassocks alone.

On Tuesday evening I was in the Commons at the start of the England match, as SNP MPs tried to spoil our enjoyment of the game by calling successive votes during it.  They didn’t succeed.

On Wednesday I took part in a Commons debate on planning, repeating my argument that the requirements for councils to have a “five-year land supply” are being used by developers to game the system and undermine neighbourhood plans.  I know how strongly parish councils in my constituency feel about this.

I also met a group of young people who have been made homeless to talk about their experience and how it can be prevented.

On Friday I will be in the constituency as usual, first meeting Mid Sussex District Councillors in Hassocks to discuss local issues, then visiting the the Arundel Wetlands Centre, before holding my regular advice surgeries, which this week will be in Arundel. 

In the evening I will attend a fundraiser at Arundel Castle for the town’s Festival, which will be held in August.  I will briefly be back at the Castle on Saturday evening for a fundraiser for the wonderful Snowdrop Trust, a local charity (of which I am a Patron) which supports very ill children and their families, before heading to the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum for an event to celebrate the Centenary of the RAF.

The Defence Minister, Tobias Ellwood, will be speaking.  It will also be a special event for me because my late step-grandfather, Group Captain John Peel DSO DFC, commanded the squadron of hurricanes that was based at Tangmere, and which was on the of the first to engage in the Battle of Britain.

Ed Barker