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Government u-turn on ticket office closures in Portsmouth is a campaign win: Stephen Morgan MP responds

By 31 October 2023No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP welcomed his campaign win as the Government announce a U-turn on their plan to close rail ticket offices in Portsmouth and across the country.

Ticket offices in Portsmouth stations will now be safe from closure.

It comes as Transport Focus, the independent transport watchdog, objected to all of the current proposals to close ticket offices, stating that there are key issues critical to maintaining accessibility for all to the national network that remain unresolved across all networks.

The city MP has taken a range of actions calling on the government to rethink their plans including lobbying the Ministers responsible, writing to the train operators directly, asking questions in the House of Commons, hosting a roundtable with constituents affected and submitting a response to the consultation on behalf of local people.

As Shadow Minister for Rail, Mr Morgan also made Labour’s case to pause and rethink plans in summing up an important debate in Parliament in early September. The debate followed over 750,000 responses to the public consultation – 99% of which were objections.

The Portsmouth South representative has been working with constituents, trade unions and organisations opposed to the plans making their voices heard in Westminister and to decision-makers.

Following the Government u-turn, Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Portsmouth people will be hugely relieved to hear the Government has finally seen sense and scrapped their shambolic plans which would have accessibility and jobs across our railways at risk.

“It is a shame that Ministers had to waste so much time and taxpayers’ money to realise what local people and charities have been saying all along.

“I will always stand up against cost-cutting measures that make life harder for my constituents. Passengers in Portsmouth and across the country deserve better than the chaos of this Tory Government.”

Louise Haigh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, added:

“The Tories’ shambolic plans have fallen apart. They have finally admitted their damaging proposals put accessibility and jobs at risk.

What an utterly colossal waste of time and taxpayers’ money, and another example of this broken government’s time is up”.

Opposition to the Government’s plans came from trade unions and organisations including Disability Rights UK, the National Federation of the Blind, Transport for All, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Royal National Institute for Deaf People and the charity Guide Dogs.

In his first appearance as Shadow Rail Minister, Mr Morgan summed up a Westminster Hall debate making the case that the Government had been misleading the country over its rail ticket office closure plans and urging Ministers to rethink plans.