1 July 2009
The Green Party welcomes the renationalisation of the East Coast mainline, from National Express, by the government this morning.
The government should go further. Under cross-default clauses, the Transport secretary, Lord Adonis, could strip National Express of all its contracts, now that the group has handed back one franchise.
The Green Party remains the only major party in Britain to call for the full re-nationalisation of the railways.
Rupert Read, candidate for Norwich North and Green Party spokesperson on public services, said:
"Train privatisation, from the beginning, was a very flawed model. We can't keep socialising private companies' losses and privatising their profits. We need a national train network under direct public control and with full public accountability."
"National Express must pay back whatever monies are outstanding from their rail franchise of the East Coast Main Line - it would be quite wrong for National Express to continue to profit on some lines, while the taxpayer has to foot the bill on others. To use the government's own rhetoric, this should be a zero-tolerance issue."
Sir Richard Branson, co-owner of the Virgin west coast franchise, has expressed an interest in bidding for the east coast franchise if it became available.
Read responded to this by saying: "Virgin would then have control of England-Scotland services, as well as London to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Doncaster. The entire idea of privatisation was to inject competition, and this would be substituting a public monopoly for a private monopoly. That cannot be allowed to happen, and as a Green MP for Norwich North, I would be absolutely steadfast in resisting it."
Notes for Editors:
Rupert Read is the Green Party candidate in the Norwich North parliamentary byelection, and can be reached for further comment on 01603 219294 / 07946 459066.