Chris Grayling, the new Secretary of State for Transport, has been criticised for not making an obvious intervention in the rail dispute between Southern Railways and the RMT.
The Brighton Argus newspaper published a blank page other than for the following message:
“Apology to our readers.
It had been our intention to use this page to carry the Government’s response to next week’s all-out train strike.
We had cleared the page for the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to give the tens of thousands of rail users details of the actions he will take to relieve their daily misery.
We hoped to be able to bring you news that the Government was taking our plight seriously, that it understood the serious concerns for the economy of Sussex and that it was working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring about an end to the appalling train service we are currently experiencing.
We were preparing space for explanations about how long he will give Southern Rail to sort out the mess. In truth we were hoping for anything from the Government to show it actually cared about our plight.
We regret to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control we are unable to offer you this service.
Those of you who use the trains regularly will be familiar with the feeling”.
Paul Maynard, the Rail Minister, had earlier said:
“This strike action from the RMT will do nothing other than cause yet more disruption and daily misery for passengers. It is deeply disappointing that the union bosses continue to overlook the impact they are having on the travelling public, and I strongly condemn this proposed action”.