Leeds MPs back YEP's Unlock the Gridlock campaign

Leeds MPs from the two main political parties have swung behind the Yorkshire Evening Post's campaign to improve the transport system and get the city moving.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:40 pm
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

After months of traffic and transport chaos - plus decades of under-investment , we this week launched Unlock the Gridlock.

We're calling on the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, who is in Leeds today, to look again at a mass-transit-system for Leeds, take action to improve the reliability, value and operation of Leeds' buses and trains, and make the city more attractive for cyclists and walkers.

Leeds North-East MP Fabian Hamilton, a long-time transport campaigner, fully backed the campaign.

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Clockwise, from top: MPs Stuart Andrew, Fabian Hamilton and Hilary Benn.

“I’m pleased the Transport Secretary has agreed to visit Leeds, but he must now take this opportunity to see for himself the chaotic nature of public transport in our city," the Labour MP said.

"Late, inefficient and expensive rail and bus networks are a direct cause of the brutal cuts to both Leeds City Council and the continued private ownership of our railways.

"I commend the Yorkshire Evening Post’s campaign on public transport reform in Leeds and across Yorkshire, but hope the Transport Secretary follows through on the Prime Minister’s promise to finally deliver a rail-based public transport system to Leeds - which remains the largest city in Europe without one.”

His colleague Hilary Benn, the Leeds Central MP, said he too was determined to hold the Government to account.

He said: "The Conservative manifesto talked about giving city regions the funding to upgrade their bus, tram and train services to make them as good as London’s, and we intend to hold the new Government to their promise.

"To be specific I am campaigning for funding for a tram system for the city. And while ministers are at it, we want to be able to run our own buses as well. If it’s good enough for London, then it’s good enough for Leeds."

Mr Benn also called on the Northern and TransPennine rail operators to be brought back under public ownership if they were unable to sort of the "woeful state of some rail services and the need for investment", and said he backed HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew, Conservative, said he would be pushing for "ambitious" change in the wake of his party's big General Election win.

“Helping Leeds to finally get the transport system and infrastructure that a City of this size deserves is something that Conservative colleagues, Councillors and myself have long been fighting for," he said

"There is now a real opportunity to achieve this following the General Election as the Government have made it clear they are very keen to support the North of England.

"However, we do have to be ambitious and not “make do” projects – we need a proper Airport Railway Station, to introduce light rail between Leeds and Bradford and to address the issues with the Ring Road.

"I will continue to do everything I can to ensure this commitments made to the North during the General Election are delivered on and I will continue to engage with Ministers on an ongoing basis.”