Andy McDonald

Rail: Beeching announcement 'a sick joke', says Labour's McDonald
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald calls the government's plan to reopen parts of the railway network closed under the Beeching cuts "disingenuous".

More calls for Northern Rail nationalisation

Passengers queuing to get on train
Tim Nash

The general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, Manuel Cortes, has added his voice to calls for Northern Rail to be taken into public ownership.

"The Government should do the right thing now and immediately bring Northern Rail into public ownership.

"It's blindingly obvious to anyone with an understanding of the extent of the failure of Northern Rail that the positive proven record of public ownership is what is required and what passengers and staff deserve."

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: "The fragmented rail system does not work. The Government should get on with it and bring track and train together under one company in public ownership."

Northern Rail should be 'brought into public ownership'

Graphic showing Northern Rail cancellations

It's no secret that Northern Rail has faced a range of issues in recent years, such as widespread cancellations amid the introduction of new timetables.

On Thursday the government said the rail operator Arriva Rail North has the finances to continue only "for a number of months" (see earlier post).

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was evaluating a proposal from Arriva on options for continuing its franchise.

The process could ultimately lead to the government taking control of services, Mr Shapps said.

His announcement has led to calls for Northern to be taken into public ownership.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "This is just another fudge by the Tory Government on Northern but it still proves without a shadow of a doubt that their private franchise model for running our railways is finished.

"The whole privatisation experiment which has reduced our railways to chaos must now be consigned to the dustbin of history.

"Other basket cases - South Western Railway, Scotrail, TransPennine Express and the rest - should also be put out of their misery and be brought into public ownership as soon as is practically possible and I have written again to the Transport Secretary to discuss exactly that."

Andy McDonald says the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn during the election was ‘grotesque’.
Andy McDonald tells 5 Live that he thinks the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn during the election was "unfair and grotesque".

Existing funds will pay for £1.5bn rail pledge, says Labour

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Rail tickets
Getty Images

Labour has announced that plans to cut UK rail fares by a third which it also hopes will shift people from driving cars into more environmentally friendly public transport.

But how does Labour propose funding a pledge that will cost £1.5bn a year?

Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald tells the Today programme the money will come from existing funds which will be re-purposed into a "sustainable transport fund".

What about road projects that already expected to go ahead?

Mr McDonald says: "I want to look at those plans because I am aware that some of the preparations and planning for those have not been perfect and I want to take an assessment of where we're up to."

He adds: "We cannot road build our way out of a climate emergency...and we do need to make the decision are we serious about addressing the climate crisis or not.

BreakingMP backs PCC to turn police force around

Middlesbrough Labour MP Andy McDonald has backed PCC Barry Coppinger to turn Cleveland Police around.

He told BBC Tees: "It's a dreadful report and it's totally unacceptable on so many levels. It's a failure to detect crime, a failure to prevent crime and we don't have trust in the integrity and honesty of senior officers.

"And so it is a damning indictment. But what concerns me is the force has plummeted from having a good rating in 2017 to being inadequate on all these fronts, so something very dramatic has happened.

"I take on board what [Chief Constable] Richard Lewis has said on this, and he has said he's not hiding behind the clear and obvious cuts which have been made.

"What I am somewhat heartened by is he has stripped out the senior management team and has changed things, root and branch, and I see this report as a blueprint for him to take it forward.

"Barry Coppinger himself has not received qualitative information from those senior ranks of officer and importantly it's been Barry who has been out building community relations where the police have failed to be."

Middlesbrough Labour MP Andy McDonald

MPs' fury at Thomas Cook collapse

MPs attack ministers for the travel agent's collapse
MPs have expressed their fury over the collapse of the travel company, Thomas Cook. 

Several criticised the Government for not bailing out the firm, while others demanded an investigation into the conduct of directors.

Mandy Baker reports.

You can hear more from Today In Parliament on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30pm.