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Rail Infrastructure

Volume 742: debated on Wednesday 6 December 2023

12. What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of rail infrastructure in Wales. (900427)

Thank you for your generosity, Madam Deputy Speaker. I, too, pay tribute to my very good friends in the Kinnock family after the loss of Glenys, who was a dear friend to all of us, and note the sad death of the former Member for Rhondda.

I ask the Secretary of State—

The UK Government are committed to building a strong rail infrastructure network across Wales, which will improve connectivity and drive economic growth.

My constituents want the parkway station to be built at St Mellons. That will require important work on the south Wales main line for relief lines. Will the Minister meet me and colleagues, with the rail Minister—the Minister of State, Department for Transport, the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman)—to ensure that this important national investment is made, so that the station can go ahead?

I will be delighted to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss that and the investment that the UK Government are already putting into rail infrastructure in Wales.

The Secretary of State and the Minister should know that I have campaigned for years to close the dangerous level crossing in Pencoed in my constituency. No levelling-up funding or transport bid funding has been approved for any of the applications. Will the Minister please talk to Department for Transport officials to resolve this, rather than allowing DFT officials to keep announcing more and more rail services, which means closing the crossing more by stealth? That is not acceptable to my constituents.

I worked well with the hon. Gentleman when I was in the Government Whips Offices and I very much look forward to doing so again. I will write to him to offer a meeting about that.

Before we proceed to Prime Minister’s questions, many colleagues have asked me to pass on their best wishes to Mr Speaker in his absence. I am happy to inform the House that, although Mr Speaker has tested positive for covid and therefore cannot be present in the Chamber, he is rapidly getting better. Just as soon as that little test shows negative, he will be straight back here in his Chair.