Disruption on Southern Rail

Nick's Question during Business Questions

Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs) (Con)

I congratulate my right hon. Friend, but will he resist the attempt by SNP Members to urge less EVEL? Many Conservative Members would like much more EVEL.

I echo the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) about Southern. Will the Leader of the House ensure hat we have a debate in Government time about the appalling situation that my constituents and those of many other Members face because of the disruption on Southern? Will he urge our right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary to do everything he can to sort this out, and ensure that he is fully apprised of the real causes of the disruption at the moment? Although the causes include network failures, the principal one is what is in effect a work to rule driven by the rail unions, which are resisting perfectly sensible changes in the rail industry.

Mr Lidington

It is true that if the trade unions returned fully to work, that would ease the situation enormously to the benefit both of passengers using Southern services and, as our hon. Friend the Member for South West Bedfordshire pointed out, of passengers elsewhere whose services are being interrupted to try to give extra support to Southern. I undertake to contact the Transport Secretary and to make him aware of the points raised by my right hon. Friend. I hope that by the time we return in September, this dispute will be over and services will have been restored to an acceptable level so that we will not need to have such a debate. I am sure the Secretary of State will want to consider carefully the points my right hon. Friend has made.