Yorkshire MP becomes new rail minister as transport department shuffles the pack

The MP for Harrogate, Knaresborough & Boroughbridge Andrew Jones has been appointed as the transport minister responsible for rail following the sudden resignation by Jo Johnson.

The previous rail minister Jesse Norman, has also been promoted to transport minister after Johnson revealed he would be resigning due to concerns surrounding Brexit and calls for a second referendum on the matter.

Jones was previously parliamentary under secretary at the Department for Transport (DfT) between May 2015 and June 2017 and his return has been welcomed by industry leaders. 

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has congratulated Jones and believes his previous experience in the DfT, could prove worthwhile moving forward.

“With a new Control Period beginning in April and a number of major projects on the horizon, including Crossrail, HS2, the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Crossrail 2 and East West Rail, there are a number of opportunities for rail businesses on the horizon. However, the industry still faces the challenges of ‘boom and bust’ rail funding, keeping electrification an option as we seek to decarbonise the network and preparing for a changing international regulatory and trade landscape as the UK prepares to leave EU. We look forward to working with Andrew Jones and DfT on these issues in the coming months and years ahead.”

Before being elected MP in 2010, Jones was a councillor on Harrogate Borough Council from May 2003 to May 2011, representing the High Harrogate ward. He was also cabinet member for resources from May 2003 to May 2010. He has also been a parliamentary private secretary on the health, business and transport teams.

Most notably for his new role, he has also chaired the Northern Electrification Taskforce which provided the transport secretary with advice on the next steps for electrification of railways in the north of England.

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