British Rail return ticket: Labor confirms plans to renationalise railways if MPs win general election
- Louise Haigh has confirmed that the railways will return to public hands
- RMT boss Mick Lynch said he would ‘welcome’ the move to public ownership
- Labor policy comes after months of confusion and contrasting rhetoric
LABOR has confirmed that it will renationalise the railways if it wins the next general election.
Transport spokeswoman Louise Haigh told the conference yesterday that rail would be returned to public hands after current contracts with operators expire.
She told delegates – many of whom struggled to get to the rally in Liverpool due to reduced train times and widespread disruption – that private rail companies should no longer be allowed to provide a lackluster service.
Confirmation of Labour’s nationalization policy comes after months of confusion and contrasting rhetoric from the Shadow Cabinet.
Miss Haigh told the conference: ‘British railways have become a slot machine for foreign businesses and governments.
Confirmation of Labour’s nationalization policy comes after months of confusion and contrasting shadow cabinet rhetoric
This can’t go on any longer, things have to change. And Labor in government will make sure they do.
RMT boss Mick Lynch said yesterday the union would ‘welcome’ the move to public ownership.
This summer, the Labor leadership appeared to make several U-turns on nationalisation, despite Sir Keir Starmer including the policy in his manifesto when he ran for the party leadership.
In July, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said renationalisation was no longer compatible with Labour’s “fiscal rules”.
It was first backed by Sir Keir, who said he would reject an “ideological” position and instead take a “pragmatic” approach to the issue.
Nationalization was a core policy of the 2019 manifesto, which the current leadership has sought to distance itself from.
Asked if he had abandoned his promise of leadership, Sir Keir said: ‘On the details of nationalisation, I am pragmatic, not ideological. I don’t think that after the pandemic an ideological response is the right one.
“Rail is probably different from others because a lot of our railways are already state owned. That’s what I mean by not being ideological about it.
Miss Haigh was forced to post a statement on social media at the time clarifying the party’s position in favor of public ownership.
But during the conference the party appeared to agree on a clearer policy, with Miss Haigh suggesting that a Labor government would end ‘this farce’ of privatized rail.
Party railways minister Tan Dhesi previously hinted at the change, telling a sideline event organized by militant union RMT that nationalization had been Labor policy since he took office in 2020 .
RMT leader Mick Lynch said yesterday (Monday): ‘We welcome the Labor Party’s commitment to public ownership of the railways.
“Tackling private sector greed and inefficiency in our railways and other public services should be a key priority for the next Labor government.”