Train fares rise by an average of 3.4% across the
But the Transport secretary and his junior ministers
were unavailable to defend the rises.
Downing Street confirm that Grayling has embarked on a
previously unannounced trip to the Middle East.
LONDON — The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been accused
of going into “hiding” after a spokesperson for the prime
minister confirmed he had embarked on a trip to Qatar at exactly
the same time as train fairs rose above inflation across the
Train fares rose by an average of 3.4% across the country
this morning as commuters returned to work after the new
However, questions were raised with Downing Street after
neither Grayling or any other Transport minister appeared on
broadcast interviews this morning to defend the rises.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said that Grayling
would be meeting with the prime minister of Qatar and industry
Asked about the timing of Grayling’s trip at a briefing with
journalists on Tuesday morning, they replied: “The fare rises we
have known were coming for a while and the Department for
Transport has issued a full statement responding to those rises.”
Grayling is not expected to return to the UK until the end of the
working week, days after passengers were first hit by the rises.
Labour accused the transport secretary of going into hiding.
“The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has gone into hiding,
unable to defend today’s 3.6% fares hike & refusing to
explain the £2bn taxpayer bailout of Virgin East Coast.
Passengers deserve better than this,” shadow Transport Secretary
Andy McDonald tweeted.
Grayling’s job is reportedly under threat in the prime minister’s
upcoming reshuffle. Grayling faced calls last week to quit from
the former National Infrastructure
Commission chief Lord Adonis, over his role in
the bailout of Stagecoach-Virgin run East Coast line.
Asked about his position, a spokesperson for the PM said that:
“Chris Grayling is working hard and doing a good job as transport