Lewes Liberal Democrats, including Seaford, Newhaven and Polegate have responded to Govia Thameslink Railways (Southern) timetable consultation for service changes in 2018. The party have been running the Save Seaford Trains campaign in Seaford since October, as proposals from GTR include significant service reduction to the largest town in the district.
The Save Seaford Trains campaign collected 3,211 signatures against the removal of trains which run direct to London from Seaford during peak hours. Liberal Democrats were accused of political scaremongering by the incumbent MP, but continued to campaign and raise the critical issue with residents.
Liberal Democrat District Councillor Vic Ient is putting forward an emergency motion at this week’s Lewes District Council full council meeting on Wednesday at 6pm. The motion asks councillors to support him in condemning the rail fare increases on Southern Railway region because of the dreadful service.
Liberal Democrats in Lewes are standing up for commuters and calling on the Government to Sack Southern Rail, handing over a petition of over 3,000 signatures to Theresa May at Downing Street Monday morning.
Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes Kelly-Marie Blundell, who has led the campaign to save Seaford trains, is joining Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake and London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon to hand in the petition calling for an end to Southern Rail's delivery of rail services.
Lewes Liberal Democrats have condemned train fare rises announced today which will see the cost of travel increase by 1.8% in the Lewes District.
The Rail Industry announced rises of an average of 2.3% across all networks, meaning that a monthly season ticket from Lewes to London Victoria will top £400 while commuters are still facing ongoing delays and disruptions to services.
Liberal Democrats in Lewes are celebrating the election of Sarah Olney in Richmond Park, where the Liberal Democrats overturned a 23,000 majority held by incumbent Zac Goldsmith, who resigned over Heathrow airport expansion in October.
The Liberal Democrats campaigned unapologetically on Europe, where many constituencies who voted Remain are at odds with their Members of Parliament. In Lewes, incumbent MP Maria Caulfield campaigned for Leaving the EU, where as the Constituency voted by a majority to Remain.
Baroness Kate Parminter, Lib Dem spokesperson on the Environment reaffirmed Liberal Democrat commitments as she addressed Lewes Constituency annual dinner last night.
The Liberal Democrats have been leading the way on environmental issues in parliament, from securing charges on plastic bags to reduce pollution through to championing green energy through investing in solar and wind power.
Since the Conservatives gained a majority government they have cut back on investment in green energy, resulting in the loss of circa 18000 jobs across the country in green energy.
This is alongside the threat of Brexit undermining the UK's commitments on climate change and EU environmental policies.
Baroness Parminter, who led the campaign against fox hunting at the RSPCA, said "we also have to wary of Trump's election and the USA commitments on climate change. Pollution and a refusal to reduce countries carbon footprint could rapidly increase global warming and increase health problems from rising pollution."
Kelly-Marie Blundell, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes welcomed Kate, saying;
"Lib Dems have a long history of standing up for green issues, from fighting to introduce wind turbines to supporting solar power to reducing pollution from traffic.
"As we are in an era of political uncertainty we must make sure our environment is protected."
Liberal Democrats in Lewes can reveal that it is the contract Southern holds with the Department of Transport which is behind ongoing service disruptions following a meeting with Lewes Liberal Democrat Councillors and Govia.
The train service, which serves all of Lewes District, is managed by Southern through a contract held by the Department of Transport. The government have refused to reveal details of this contract, leading to action group ‘The Association of British Commuters’ to file a Judicial Review challenge in the High Court.
The commuter-led organisation The Association of British Commuters, who raised £25,000 to fund a legal challenge, have revealled their basis for taking the Department of Transport to judicial review for failings in relation to Southern Rail.
The organisation, which Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Kelly-Marie Blundell has helped campaign, want the Government to disclose the contract held with Govia Thameslink Railway, who run Southern Rail, so they can be held to account for their failings in providing adequate service.
Liberal Democrats in Lewes, Newhaven, Seaford and Polegate have welcomed the news that a court has given a Southern commuter permission to sue the train operator for poor service.
Guildford County Court ruled on appeal that Sergei Cristo, who lives in Earlsfield, Surrey, can pursue action against Govia Thameslink, who manage Southern Rail, based on continued delays, changes to timetables and overcrowded trains.
Previous Lewes Lib Dem MP and Rail Minister Norman Baker has written an open letter to Southern Rail, following months of problems with the rail operator, and his own experience with continued delays, lack of planning and staffing issues.