Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate Kelly-Marie Blundell reveals that the party Manifesto, to be published on 17th March 2017, cites plans to sack Southern Rail.
Kelly-Marie Blundell, who has taken up the reins from ex MP Norman Baker, has led campaigns to help passengers across Lewes constituency.
Over the last year, residents in Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven and Polegate have suffered with reduced timetables, replacement rail buses and strikes impacting train services, leading to some people losing their jobs and even more suffering as a result.
Seaford resident Kelly-Marie Blundell said;
“In Lewes area we have put up with too much for too long. It's time for Southern to go – and the Lib Dems are committed to giving the contract to another company who can make sure the trains are run on time.”
“While things have settled somewhat since the strikes ended, people in Plumpton are faced with the last train back from London being 19:47 and those in Seaford and Newhaven being stuck with replacement buses weekend after weekend.
“I worked with residents locally to oppose plans to scrap the direct train from Seaford to London and handed over 3,000 signatures to the Prime Minister in December calling for Southern Rail to be sacked.
“This election is the chance for those of us who are blighted by Southern Rail problems to put an end to their contract and the ongoing problems by voting Lib Dem in Lewes.”
Norman Baker said;
I am delighted that Kelly-Marie Blundell has continued to champion the needs of rail passengers as I did when I was the MP, leading the Save Seaford Trains campaign and fighting on behalf of thousands of people in Lewes, Newhaven, Polegate and Seaford who have suffered as a result of Southern Rail's continued disruption.
“Like me, Kelly-Marie is committed to representing local residents properly, making sure their voices are heard and the continual disruption comes to an end.
“It is time once again that local people have an effective voice in Parliament, which sadly we have not done for the last two years.”
Notes for Editor:
Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes
The Liberal Democrats will allow public sector bodies and mutual groups involving staff and passengers to bid for franchises. The party will continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.
The party would establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink, with a long-term plan to find more effective and sustainable ways of managing these franchises involving greater powers for local government.
The Liberal Democrats will contain a commitment in their manifesto to establish a government-run company to take over Southern and Govia.
Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat chief whip, said:
“The lives of people in areas such as mine have been made a misery by quite unbelievable levels of disruption these last eighteen months while the government has sought to ignore their misery. It has disrupted family life and in some cases cost people their jobs.
“Much more must be done to improve services and measures must be put in place to ensure that underperforming train franchises are sanctioned or stripped of their responsibilities.
“The Conservatives only seem to stick up for big business and don’t seem to care about people struggling to work to earn a living.”
Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary Jenny Randerson said:
“We need new rail franchises that include a stronger focus on customers, including a programme of investment in new stations, lines and modern trains. The current system simply can’t go on.”