Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, and leading member of the Transport Select Committee is “outraged and appalled“ following the Government’s announcement of their Transport Ministers‘ responsibilities. Responsibility for buses, taxis, community transport and roads has been allocated to Baroness Vere, meaning that the Minister responsible for these policy areas is not directly accountable to the House of Commons.
Mr Zeichner says “It’s ridiculous that the Tories are now running so scared of the electorate that they’re stopping MPs holding them to account when it comes to buses, taxis, roads and community transport. There were 4.36 billion bus journeys in England in 2017/18. There were over 361,500 licensed taxi and private hire drivers in 2018. These are the most commonly used public transport modes, and it’s a disgrace that there won’t be House of Commons oversight for these contentious and important policy areas. By shipping them off to the Lords, the ConservativeGovernment are washing their hands of democratic accountability for how most people get around.“
The Cambridge MP, a former Shadow Transport Minister, current member of the Transport Select Committee and chair of the Backbench Labour Transport Committe, has expressed concern at the way the Department for Transport has divided up its responsibilites more widely:
Mr Zeichner comments:
“As roads policy has been shifted to the Lords, Minister George Freeman has ‘shadow‘ responsibility for it in the Commons – but why is this not the case for buses?“
“Traditionally, rail has been seen as such a big brief that it’s the Minister’s main responsibility. The current Rail Minister is also been given EU Exit Planning, and cycling and walking. I don’t see how active travel infrastructure and policy improvements will be given the time and energy they deserve while Brexit chaos continues and the rail system continues to fail passengers. We need and deserve real transport leadership, not this current mish-mash of priorities.“