Chris Grayling appointed Transport Secretary
Chris Grayling, Conservative MP for Epsom and Ewell, has been announced as the new Transport Secretary following Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister.
Mr Grayling has been Leader of the House of Commons since May 2015. Following the formation of the coalition government in May 2010, he was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions and then became Secretary of State for Justice in September 2012.
In his new role, he replaces Patrick McLoughlin who now becomes Tory party chairman and also Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Commenting on Mr Grayling’s appointment, David Davies, executive director for the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), said: “We welcome Chris Grayling to the post of Secretary of State for Transport and wish him success. While Transport may not be top of the Whitehall pecking order, it is hugely important to the economy, the environment and to our quality of life.”
He added: “We are relieved to see that earlier rumours that the Department for Transport was to be abolished appear incorrect. Transport safety requires coordination and is not just about infrastructure.
“There has been a Transport Department in one shape or form for almost 100 years, since the formation of the Ministry of Transport in 1919. The only exceptions were 1970-76 when it was subsumed into a Department for the Environment and 1997-2002 when it was part of a larger department, but with Transport still prominent in the title.”
The RAC also welcomed the news of Mr Grayling’s appointment. Public affairs manager Nick Lyes said: “A new Prime Minister and changes to the Cabinet could mean a change of priorities. Motorists have in recent years benefitted from a prolonged fuel duty freeze and a focus on upgrading the strategic road network. But what motorists need in this era of uncertainty is clarity that the Government will continue to be on their side. This means helping motorists, businesses and the economy by not increasing fuel duty, and sticking with the long-term vision of investment for our strategic road network. Traffic volumes are now at record levels and to avoid gridlock the RAC seeks assurances that the Road Investment Strategy will continue to be implemented in full, and that guarantees for investment beyond 2020 will be kept.
“It is also vitally important that the new Transport Secretary and Chancellor work together to come up with a long-term funding solution to improve the state of local roads. Potholes are causing damage to our nation’s vehicles – as the RAC reported, in 2015 there was a 24% year-on-year rise in pothole damage related call-outs. The state of our local roads is now so serious that motorists tell us that fixing the problem is their number one priority.
“The Government will also have decisions to make about implementing clean air zones and improving road safety. Given the important part Britain’s 38 million motorists play in the country’s economic health, prioritising their needs is absolutely essential.”