Bim Afolami: Does the Secretary of State agree that working with private sector partners on the west coast main line has delivered huge improvements to reliability and customer service? Will he reassure my constituents that any operational changes that have been outlined or envisaged today will not have a negative impact on their service?
Chris Grayling: That is my goal. The thing is that I am very much in favour of the public sector and the private sector working together in partnership, and I have talked about that in other parts of the rail network. The difficulty is that the Opposition do not seem to want the “private” bit at all—everything has to be public. Both sectors bring strengths to the party, and the working partnership that exists today between Network Rail and Virgin Trains on the west coast main line has delivered significant performance and customer satisfaction improvements over the past few years.