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South London Line

Volume 519: debated on Thursday 2 December 2010

There have been no recent discussions between the Department for Transport and the Mayor of London regarding the South London line. We are aware that officials from Transport for London have been discussing their plans to mitigate the loss of the South London line service, following its replacement with the new East London line services through Southeastern.

The Secretary of State’s announcement last week about London Bridge and Thameslink is hugely welcomed by all our communities, but the one qualification, of which he is probably aware, is that it might have an adverse impact on use of the South London line. Will his Department be positive and constructive with the Mayor of London and local authorities to see whether we can resolve the one remaining piece of the jigsaw-problem, so that everybody can be 100% happy—rather than just 90% happy with a little way to go?

I am aware of the concerns about the loss of the South London line service. As my hon. Friend knows, the Mayor of London asked for the alternative proposal of a Victoria to Bellingham service to be dropped in favour of providing additional financial support to the East London line extension, but I am very happy to talk to my hon. Friend and to other hon. Members who are concerned about the matter to try to ensure the best possible provision of services within the constraints that will exist at London Bridge and Clapham Junction.

May I express my astonishment that the Secretary of State has not had a discussion with the Mayor of London about the chaos on London’s transport and, indeed, throughout the country? Will he tell the Mayor to stop swanning around in Switzerland, get back here and get a grip? When will he and the Minister get a grip on the transport chaos in this country?

The question was about the South London line and my answer was that I had not had any recent discussions with the Mayor of London on that issue. I do, of course, have regular discussions with the Mayor of London on all sorts of subjects and will continue to do so. I suspect that the right hon. Gentleman is out of touch with the mood of the British public, who are concerned to make the best possible fist of Britain’s bid for the 2018 World cup.