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Labour accused of ‘looking back’ by Bexleyheath and Crayford election candidate over rail nationalisation pledge

PUBLISHED: 16:51 11 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:51 11 May 2017

Southeastern

Southeastern

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Bexleyheath and Crayford’s candidates are divided over the suggestion

The debate over renationalising Britain’s rail services has reared its head after Labour revealed its support for plans in a draft manifesto which leaked on Thursday.

Currently, Bexleyheath and Crayford residents are served by Southeastern, a company with the second worst customer satisfaction rating in the country.

Only neighbouring Southern Rail ranked lower, after facing months of strike action.

The Labour party is hopeful a return to a government-owned railway would boost services across the country.

But Ukip candidate for the towns at next month’s general election Mike Ferro is is no hurry to return the rails to state ownership.

“The current service might not be perfect, but anyone who remembers the unreliable days of British Rail will think Southeastern is better,

“We fully support improving rail services, but it is best done when privatised, rather than letting the likes of British Rail return.”

Labour candidate and transport councillor Stefano Borella, rubbished the British Rail argument.

He said: “This isn’t about bringing back British Rail, it’s about bringing back government control, right now it has control over the franchise, but not who applies for the franchise.

“There isn’t much competition for the franchise, right now the company comes along and says this is the money we’re willing to spend, and whatever comes out goes to the company as profit, if it were government controlled then that money would be able to go back into improving the railways.”

Hoping to retain his seat, Tory candidate David Evennett said: “If this leak is true it seems the Conservatives are a party that are about looking forward, whereas Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are all about looking back.

“There’s a consultation going on right now which is giving people the chance to have their say on who runs their train services, we all hope there’ll be a new company instead of Southeastern when the franchise ends in 2018, and we hope that company will focus on improving rail services, providing enough carriages and making sure all people in my area can access Charing Cross, Victoria and Cannon Street. The idea of a government takeover is flawed.”

We have approached Liberal Democrat candidate Simone Reynolds and the Green Party’s Ivor Lobo for comment.

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