Another Wednesday, another PMQ’s over in Westminster with Sir Bob batting for Britain’s Oldest Recorded.
On the agenda this week for the MP for Sunny Colch was transport.
We hoped that Sir Bob of Sunny Colch wasn’t delayed out of North Station this morning.
For the record, Sir Bob asked [22’32”]
“The East of England helped boost the nation’s economic recovery, and we could do even more if the East Anglian rail manifesto was implemented.
Will the Prime Minister encourage colleagues to fund this, with modern rolling stock for the Greater Anglia mainline, and the infrastructure improvements through Essex?”
Back came the response from Sir Bob’s Coalition Conservative pal:
“I do want to see greater improvements to the Greater Anglia service. He’s right about the economy in the Eastern region in our country – 224,000 more people in work compared to 2010.
What the Chancellor said in the autumn statement is that we would provide the funding for the improved rolling stock.
We want to achieve as well as make improvements in Essex. We want to help achieve the Norwich in 90 campaign, and we also want to see a service from Ipswich that will get to London in under an hour.
This will take investment, but that’s part of our long-term economic plan.”
Sir Bob has been on the back foot when it comes to transport of late. He was TRUMPED by Tory rival Will Quince on Tuesday.
The Conservative PPC managed to get the Transport Secretary to Sunny Colch for a public session on transport woes around the town.
Sure, the arrival of Patrick McLoughlin to North Station last night was a political stunt pulled by Cllr Quince. But Will is showing good… will (and contacts) in getting his top Tory pals into the town to come and see what life is like outside of Westminster.
Transport could become one of the main election issues as both of the big hitters shape up ahead of the next four months of campaigning.
Like it or not – Colchester has become a commuter town for many. This has been a particularly crap year for Greater Anglia, even going against the measure of what is already a piss poor performance.
A lot of the misery is down to infrastructure faults with Network Rail, and not the franchise operator. But the trains are over-crowded and smell of wee.
The announcement this week that there will NO weekend service between Shenfield and Norwich on the line up until March 22 is pretty shoddy.
Patrick McLoughlin couldn’t guarantee to Sunny Colch commuters that the engineering works wouldn’t overrun into Monday mornings.
Bang on cue and Sir Bob rushed out a press release late on Tuesday evening asking pretty much the same question that the customers put to Patrick McLoughlin at the Bricklayers earlier in the evening.
And so transport had become highly politicised in the town over the past couple of days. That’s no bad thing – it might at least lead to some positive results.
And we haven’t even mentioned the pedestrianisation of the High Street (that isn’t really pedestrianisation), the rush hour gridlocks from all four corners of Colchester, the AWOL Wivenhoe Cycle Path…
On yer bike.