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My statement for the #MLAG AGM in #Rye this evening.

May 3, 2017

Nick campaigning with Norman Baker – a Minister who actually had a passion for improving our rail infrastructure…

Dear Stuart,

Please pass on my apologies to your members for not being able to attend your AGM this year, as I have in the past. As you are aware, I fully appreciate the necessity of radical improvements to our transport infrastructure if any meaningful regeneration for Hastings and Rye is to be achieved, and regret that I will not be able elaborate on this in person.

Both myself and the Liberal Democrats (styling ourselves, since the beginning of the Great Brexit Folly, as the new party of business) have been consistent in our belief
that an efficient, affordable and fully integrated rail system that
links Rye and Hastings to both London and Europe is essential to our future economic prosperity.

The drive to achieve this has slowed since the end of the Coalition government. The Liberal Democrat Minister and former MP for Lewes, Norman Baker, hasn’t been replaced by anyone who shares his same level of enthusiasm and capability; and Amber
Rudd’s efforts have dwindled since she embarked on her ministerial careers.

If elected as your MP on 8 June I will beaver away to ensure that work begins on the extension of the St Pancras/Ashford HS1 train link to Rye, Hastings and beyond as soon as possible. And, in order fully to realise the potential of Ashford as
a transport ‘hub’, linking East Sussex to Europe, I would also press for more Eurostar and other European bound trains to stop at Ashford International.

The Lib Dems have been very actively helping to ensure that there is an end to the ongoing
industrial action that has blighted the lives of ten of thousands of
Southern Rail passengers, and seriously damaged the local and regional economy, by pressing the Government to make a positive intervention in the dispute. Southern Rail doesn’t have a standard franchise arrangement. It is effectively acting as an agent for the Department of Transport
and, as such, the Government has both the powers and the moral
responsibility to use its influence to bring a permanent end to the
seemingly endless succession of damaging strikes.

Similarly, I share your concerns regarding some aspects of the ‘new’
South Eastern Trains franchise and will certainly lobby the Government to review its current proposals and change those aspects that will have a negative impact on the frequency and quality of service.

If you have any further queries, please contact me direct or via my press officer, Lee Allane (

Your members are welcome to do the same.

Kind regards.


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