Chris grayling

Failing Grayling finally gets a break

Chris Grayling recently went down in history as the one of the only men able to lose a rigged election. The former Transport Secretary had been lined up by No. 10 to chair the intelligence and security committee, but ended up being rejected by his fellow committee members when his Tory colleague, Julian Lewis, decided to vote for himself instead. But now things are looking up for failing Grayling. Grayling has got himself a new job advising a ports company for the hefty sum of £100,000 a year. Before critics get too outraged, it’s important to take into account that this is for an exhausting seven hours of work per week.

A brief history of Chris Grayling’s failings

Chris Grayling is back in the news – and once again it is for all the wrong reasons. The transport secretary is facing calls to quit over his handling of the Brexit ferry debacle, which led to the Government having to shell out £33m of taxpayers’ money to Eurotunnel. Grayling said ‘however regrettable the Eurotunnel court action was, we had to take a decision to protect the interests of the country in the circumstances of a no deal Brexit’. So who is to blame? The whole Cabinet, according to Grayling, who insisted the decision that led to the payout was taken collectively. Of course, this is far from the first

In the people’s interests

The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling may be quite right (not words one often reads) to warn that failure to deliver Brexit may end the culture of a broadly moderate politics in the UK and usher in an era of ugly extremism. The Roman republic was destroyed by a similar crisis. In 137 bc, it became clear to Tiberius Gracchus — a grandson of the great Scipio Africanus who defeated Hannibal in 202 bc — that the men who had fought Rome’s overseas wars ‘are called masters of the world but have not a patch of earth to call their own’. So in 133 bc this aristocrat stood for office as

Real life | 13 December 2018

Ebenezer Grayling sat busy in his counting house. It was a cold, bleak day at the Department for Transport. Big Ben had only just struck three but it was getting dark already and the lights were going on in the grand buildings of Whitehall. Grayling stared down at the papers in front of him. He had to make these figures add up before he could go home to his constituency for the holidays. The document was headed ‘HS2 — Overspend; Compensation’, and it made for depressing reading. Because his boss, Mrs May, had backed a previous Labour plan to build a mightily expensive high speed railway through the English countryside,

The great British train wreck

A couple of weeks ago I met David Grime and Alan Noble, members of the Lakes Line Rail User Group, over a very good dinner in the Brown Horse pub in Winster in the heart of the Lake District. They had contacted me in despair at the collapse of services on their beloved ten-mile Windermere branch line. This once reliable and well-used service is now a shadow of its former self: characterised by cancellations, rampant overcrowding, bus replacement services and — sometimes — an absence of any trains at all. The trouble started following an inexplicable government decision to take the service away from TransPennine Express and give it to

CCHQ social media fail over new party chairman

Oh dear. The new Conservative party chairman has a job on their hands transforming CCHQ into a digitally-savvy campaign machine. So, it’s safe to say, that things haven’t got off to the best start for the new chairman. The CCHQ Twitter feed announced Chris Grayling as the new chairman: However, just moments later the tweet was deleted. The reason? It’s not clear that Grayling is the man for the job – his rival Brandon Lewis has just walked into No 10!

A deleted tweet shows how even police are confused by the law on SatNavs

Yesterday, the Greater Manchester Police tweeted out the above picture claiming that that ‘the only legal place’ to put a SatNav is ‘the bottom right hand side of your windscreen… everywhere else is illegal.’ It was quite untrue. Deliciously, the picture showed a suspicious mark on the middle of the car windscreen that looked very much as if the police themselves had been holding their SatNav in the wrong place (see enlargement below). When this evidence was widely shared, and mocked, the Tweet was deleted without comment. A shame, because it’s a great example of how the absence of any modern law on driving, mobile phone and SatNav use is leaving

Chris Grayling comes out of hiding

It’s safe to say that Chris Grayling’s trip to Qatar hasn’t exactly gone to plan. The Transport Secretary has been accused of ‘going into hiding’ in the Middle East following his decision to be out of the country on the day train fares are revealed to have their biggest rise in five years. That announcement has gone down like a cup of cold sick with many commuters, with protests already underway. After some prodding from hacks, the Department for Transport has – slowly – managed to release details about the trip: ‘a pre-planned visit to promote the UK overseas, support British jobs and strengthen the important relationship between the two countries’.

HS2 is steaming towards budgetary disaster

Byng was the name of the unfortunate admiral executed in 1757, in the words of Voltaire, “pour encourager les autres” after the fall of Minorca. I fear that poor old Michael Byng might be about to go the same way. Having put out a report estimating that the first phase of HS2 could cost £48 billion and the full scheme £104 billion, twice official estimates – will have woken up this morning to hear transport secretary Chris Grayling rubbishing his work, saying that he couldn’t possibly know about HS2 because he hasn’t been working on it. He did, however, devise the system which Network Rail use for estimating costs, which

Strikes shouldn’t be able to shut down key railway lines

300,000 people were hit by Aslef and the RMT’s strike on Southern Rail yesterday. The bad news for commuters is that things will get worse in the New Year. The unions have a six day strike planned for January, that means a whole working week of commuters not being able to get to their jobs, specialist medical appointments being missed and families being put under pressure. I argue in The Sun today that the government needs to act to help commuters. What it should do is ask parliament to pass a law that would impose minimum service requirements on the rail unions and the train operators. Never again should a

There’s a simple solution to the Southern Railway debacle

Transport secretary Chris Grayling says he is powerless to intervene in the dispute between Govia Thameslink, which operates the Southern Railway franchise, and the unions RMT and Aslef, whose strikes over proposals for Driver Only Operation have brought misery to passengers over a period of many months. I am not convinced. Whatever the law says, it is surely within the Government’s power to pass new legislation making it an offence for railway workers to strike, or to allow the Government to seize control of a strike-bound railway service. There is, however, an even better way for Grayling to spend his time: he should make public money available to any railway

Calls on Grayling to resign over troublesome trains

Chris Grayling has found himself in the naughty corner today over a leaked letter — to the Evening Standard — from 2013, which appears to show he opposed handing over control of suburban rail to keep it ‘out of the clutches’ of Labour. This is embarrassing — at the very least — for the Transport Secretary as just yesterday Grayling formally rejected Sadiq Khan’s bid to take over commuter routes. Giving the reason for the rejection, Grayling claimed the proposals amounted to ‘deckchair shifting’ with no real improvement for passengers. As Labour accused Grayling of putting party politics before the interests of commuters, Bob Neill — the Conservative MP — added himself to

Chris Grayling suggests Britain will leave the customs union

Good news for Liam Fox. It looks as though the Secretary for International Trade may have a job after all. After No.10 failed to confirm that Britain would leave the EU customs union as part of Brexit, a number of naysayers — including Nick Clegg — suggested Fox’s department could be left unable to strike any trade deals with the rest of the world. Today on Sunday Politics, Chris Grayling gave the strongest hint yet that Brexit would require Britain to leave the customs union. In an interview with Andrew Neil to discuss May’s great repeal act, the Transport Secretary said that Brexit means ‘we do our own trade deals’: AN: For Brexit to

James Forsyth

Chris Grayling: UK won’t set out its negotiating position when it triggers Article 50

So, what will be in the UK’s Article 50 letter? Boris Johnson had previously implied that the document would set out the UK’s aims for the negotiations, detailing the kind of relationship that this country wants with the EU in the future. But Chris Grayling just told Robert Peston that when Theresa May triggers Article 50, which she has said she will do before the end of March next year, she won’t set out the UK’s negotiating position. If this is the case, it is a mistake. Business and industry need to have a sense of, at least, what the UK government is trying to achieve. Without that, it will

The vanity line

Jeremy Corbyn may not be right about many things, but when he sat on the floor of a train, hoping to raise awareness about overcrowding, he was at least on to something. Of course, in classic Corbyn style, he proved to have ignored reality to make his point: there were plenty of seats on that particular train. It was nonetheless a point worth making. Millions of passengers jostle for standing space every day; Britain’s rail system is in urgent need of help. And there is apparently money to be spent. It just won’t be going on the most overcrowded lines. Instead, the cash is destined for High Speed 2 —

Chris Grayling gets off to a bad start with Southern commuters

Oh dear. Less than a month into his tenure as transport secretary, and Chris Grayling already has a crisis on his hands. As commuters on Southern Rail face a week of rail chaos across London and the South East thanks to strikes, there is a growing anger that Grayling is yet to take charge of the situation — despite describing it as his ‘top priority’. As a result, the Brighton Argus have taken the unusual step of devoting a full blank page to Grayling: It doesn’t make for an inspiring read, with the paper explaining they had originally reserved the page so Grayling could ‘give the tens of thousands of rail users details

Liz Truss attracts far more vitriol than her male non-lawyer predecessors. Why could that be?

A politician with no legal training and limited experience of the legal world becomes Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. The legal world is offended and fellow politicians speak out against this unwise appointment. Some resign in protest, or refuse to work under the new minister. ‘I fear this could be damaging to the justice system,’ warns one peer, as he walks away from his ministerial portfolio. Three politicians who fit that description of no legal training or experience in the legal world have been appointed Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor in the past four years. Chris Grayling was the first, taking on the job in 2012, followed by Michael Gove

The Spectator summer party, in pictures | 6 July 2016

In recent weeks, Westminster politicians have found themselves compared to the characters of House of Cards and Game of Thrones over their post-referendum antics. Happily, parliamentarians were able to put such differences aside on Wednesday night as they took a well-deserved break from work at The Spectator summer party. As Labour’s Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall caught up with Liz Truss, Laurence Fox — the Lewis actor — put on a passionate display for the cameras with his male companion for the evening. Meanwhile with a Tory leadership contest underway, Theresa May made sure to do the rounds and rally support for her campaign at the champagne-fuelled bash. Her efforts did not go unrewarded, with Fox confiding to

Vote Leave’s action plan shows why Brexit wouldn’t be a ‘leap in the dark’

What do David Cameron and the likes of Ed Balls and Harriet Harman have in common? The answer: they’ve all described Brexit as a ‘leap in the dark’. And they’re not alone in saying those campaigning for Britain to leave the EU have no plan for what happens next. We’ve heard the ‘leap in the dark’ phrase repeatedly over the last few months. But today Vote Leave have spelled out their action plan for a scenario that looks increasingly likely, at least if the polls are to be believed: what happens after a vote for Brexit on June 23rd? The ‘Leave’ campaign say that it would ‘make no sense to

‘Brexit martyr’ John Longworth gets ready for his comeback

Last week John Longworth, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, caused upset in the Remain camp when he used a BCC conference to claim that Britain could have a ‘brighter future’ outside the EU. With No.10 rumoured to have ‘bullied’ the BCC into disciplining him — an allegation they deny — Longworth was suspended before choosing to resign so that he could speak freely on the EU. So, with Longworth now seen to be the first ‘Brexit martyr’ of the campaign, Mr S suspects Downing Street may soon come to miss the days when Longworth felt the need to watch his tongue.  The leading businessman has been drafted in as a last-minute