Labour split over response to train cuts

Questions from Eltham North’s Conservative Councillors have revealed a split between local Labour Councillors and Eltham’s MP over the Government’s consultation on reducing the number of London destinations reached from our station.

 

Eltham’s MP is giving out leaflets suggesting that the Labour Party is opposing the possible cuts to London destinations like Charing Cross or Victoria from Eltham and Kidbrooke, but this is not the full picture.  Eltham North’s Conservative Councillors questioned Greenwich Council’s Cabinet Member about the train consultations (there are two) but instead of agreeing to oppose the cuts the Council’s Cabinet Member insisted it would be ‘premature’ to make a judgement at this stage.  (You can see this on the Council webcast from the end of March at 1 hour and 9 mins).

 

For Charlie and I, we will strongly oppose the suggestions in the consultation about only being allowed to go to Cannon Street from Eltham (and it is important to note that this is not policy as yet, simply a question) but we would both urge as many local residents to respond as possible to respond to these consultations.  Full details are in my last blog.

 

Now I have every sympathy with Cllr James (the Labour Cabinet Member responsible for Transport) who is a thoughtful Cabinet Member (and clearly reads this blog too) as these are indeed complex documents but I think he should have clearly ruled out supporting the cuts to the number of destinations from Eltham as a starting point.  If the Council backs these changes it will make a real difference to whether they are likely to be introduced.

 

As Eltham North Councillors, both Charlie and I will oppose these potential cuts but it would be helpful if there was unity on this position among local politicians.  While Greenwich Conservative Councillors are united in their opposition to these cuts, the changes are less likely to become a reality if there is consensus with the Council and Mayor of London backing our position too.

 

For Charlie and I, we will strongly oppose the suggestions in the consultation about only being allowed to go to Cannon Street from Eltham (and it is important to note that this is not policy as yet, simply a question) but we would both urge as many local residents to respond as possible to respond to these consultations.

 

Once again, I think this episode reflects the importance of having opposition politicians on the Council.  I’m proud that Eltham North’s Conservative Councillors have led the way in highlighting the two new consultations taking place on the future of the Southeastern rail network.  In late March I was the first local politician to highlight the issue on this blog and Charlie Davis followed up with a question at the Full Council meeting aimed at opposing the suggestion that trains from Eltham should go to Cannon Street only.   The Labour MP is responding to our lead on this issue and we hope to encourage the Council to follow his example.

 

The full details of the consultation are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-south-eastern-rail-services.