Our MP is the new transport secretary - and says he will fix 'unacceptable' Great Northern service

PUBLISHED: 14:59 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 29 July 2019

Newly installed Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arrives for a cabinet meeting at Number 10. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Newly installed Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arrives for a cabinet meeting at Number 10. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Welwyn Hatfield's MP has been announced as the new transport secretary - and says he will fix the "absolutely unacceptable" Govia-run Great Northern and Thameslink services as his number one priority.

Mr Shapps leaving Downing Street, London, after meeting the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WireMr Shapps leaving Downing Street, London, after meeting the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

MP Grant Shapps - who was appointed last night by the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson - said his "own sufferring at the hands of the service" gives him a personal stake in fixing it for all commuters and Welwyn Hatfield residents alike.

"When I went in at 10pm last night I told the ministry this was absolutely unacceptable," he told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

"I first need to get my head around how to resolve it. I really hope to tackle it."

But Mr Shapps, who takes six trains a day, said he is considering options as Govia's franchise for Great Northern and Thameslink runs out in 2021.

Left to Right: International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, Works and Pensions Secretary and Minister for Women Amber Rudd,  Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nicky Morgan, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his first Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA WireLeft to Right: International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, Works and Pensions Secretary and Minister for Women Amber Rudd, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nicky Morgan, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his first Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The Welwyn Hatfield Times asked our MP - who had previously been rumoured to be up for the Secretary of State for Transport position - when he knew that he got the job.

"I was called in around 9pm last night by Boris," he said.

"And he said I want you to accept the position of secretary of state. Then he dramatically paused for what seemed like an eternity and said - transport."

READ MORE: Welwyn Hatfield MP says transport minister job if Boris wins is 'pure speculation'

Mr Shapps arriving for the cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street today. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.Mr Shapps arriving for the cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street today. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.

Mr Shapps, who had previously held ministerial positions for housing and international development under ex-PM David Cameron, told this paper on July 6 that the transport secretary job "must be pure speculation".

Today he told the WHT he was "delighted" and suprised by the announcement.

"You go into public life to do things and it's the same for transport," he said.

"But my first job is to look after my constiuents."

He also said he does not know if the government will last, but believes most people in Parliament and outside do not want a general election.

"We need to make sure busineses are prepared for a no-deal Brexit," he said.

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden was also given a promotion, from Minister for Implementation to Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office.

This means Mr Dowden will advise Mr Johnson on developing and implementing government policy.

"I will be working on the issues that matter to the people of Hertsmere, as well as the rest of the United Kingdom, such as housing, education and top-quality infrastructure," Mr Dowden said.

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