Brexit (and Trains!)

I’m writing this from the train heading to Westminster. Following the decision of the Supreme Court, parliamentary proceedings will resume later today.

Although constitutionally explosive, I wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision. From the moment I and the rest of the country saw news of the prorogation flash up on our phones, my instinct was that it was poorly-advised. I said as much at the time. Let me be clear: the executive is absolutely right to be infuriated at MPs’ complete failure over the last three years to cooperate and agree on anything. But in a parliamentary democracy the court confirmed that MPs cannot be taken out of the arena.

So what will MPs do with this new time? Will they finally show flexibility and compromise? They should, but I’m not exactly confident.

Less gloomily, I’m delighted that after debates in Parliament, repeated meetings with ministers (and one or two robust discussions with GWR) a faster and more frequent train service is coming to Cheltenham.

From 15 December, the number of through trains to Paddington will double at off-peak times and there will be additional services at peak times too. Crucially the new services will be shortened by ten minutes, breaking the psychological two-hour barrier in some cases.

When I stood for Parliament in 2015 I said I wanted to deliver faster trains to London. I did so because I knew it could help “unclog an artery of opportunity”, as I put it at the time, for Cheltenham – particularly for our young people setting out in life and building their futures.

I knew it would be essential for delivering on the Cheltenham cyber vision which I first set out at local firm Converge in 2014. With a better train service our town can attract more talent and innovation, helping to secure its future in the growth industries of tomorrow, and the social mobility we all want to see.

Thank you to all those who’ve helped deliver this better future for Cheltenham!