The renationalisation of rail franchises has been and remains a flagship Labour policy under Jeremy Corbyn – and a popular one, with over three quarters of voters saying last autumn that they would welcome it.
The East Coast Rail contract has been an ongoing disaster for the government, with three failed franchises in the space of a decade – the latest requiring an enormously expensive bail-out, as the government announced it was terminating the Stagecoach/Virgin-owned franchise.
By contrast, when the service was briefly renationalised by the Tories in 2013 while a new franchisee was found, it returned hundreds of millions of pounds of profit to the Treasury.
Now news has broken that the government is about to scrap the franchise completely.
Because the Tories can’t, of course, bring themselves to admit that Labour is right in wanting to renationalise rail, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is said to be looking at a temporary ‘not for profit’ arrangement instead.
But whether the Tories like it or not, the scrapping of a continually failing franchise that was profitable when it was taken back into state ownership is an admission that Corbyn’s Labour is right.
Again. Just like the constant stream of other u-turns Labour has forced the Tories to make since Corbyn became leader.
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