Barwell and Philp ‘playing politics’ over Southern Rail chaos

Croydon’s Tory MPs Chris Philp and Gavin Barwell have been accused by a fellow south London Conservative MP of “playing politics” with people’s lives over the mismanagement of Southern Rail.

Bob Neill: called out Grayling for the devious toad that he is

Bob Neill: commuter interests more important than petty politics. Perhaps he can have a word with Barwell and Philp?

Philp and Barwell have also been criticised for using the latest above-inflation hike in rail fares – as approved by the Conservative Government – as a devious excuse for “data scraping”, and collecting email addresses from residents who want to claim refunds for poor service on the commuter railway line, operated by Govia Thameslink on behalf of the Department for Transport.

Bob Neill, the Tory MP for Bromley, is among a number of politicians from various parties who are backing calls from Sadiq Khan, the Labour Mayor of London, for control of commuter railway routes to be handed over to Transport for London.

It is a move being blocked by Chris Grayling, the Tory transport minister who has previously expressed his utter opposition to handing control of the commuter lines to a Labour Mayor, presumably because he prefers to advance his own petty politicial interests by using millions of pounds of public subsidy to support private profits despite the crass mismanagement of the railways.


Croydon South MP Chris Philp has recently gone quiet on doing what commuters want – stripping Southern of its franchise

When Grayling’s prejudicial position was revealed last month, Neill ignored party interests in favour of speaking up on behalf of his constituents and made a forthright call for the minister’s resignation.

Meanwhile, career politician Barwell spoke publicly in support of Grayling. Philp, who spent much of the past year saying that he wanted Southern to be stripped of its franchise and for its fare rises to be blocked, has recently adopted something closer to the Conservative Party line on the issue, laying the blame on the rail unions for Southern’s shortcomings.

On Thursday, Neill tweeted that “the interests of hard-pressed commuters are more important than party politics on this”, something which is implicitly critical of Barwell, Philp and Croydon’s Tories, who spent the start of the week running a campaign which somehow overlooked the 27per cent increase in rail fares since the Conservatives took charge of Government in 2010.

While Croydon Tories were data-scraping and misleading, Bob Neill was standing up for commuters

While Croydon Tories were data-scraping and misleading local residents, Bromley MP Bob Neill was standing up for commuters’ interests

Their leaflet, headlined without irony “Standing Up For Passengers”, was handed out at stations this week, misleading rail travellers by stating “details will be announced very soon about how to claim your season ticket refund, whether you use annual, monthly or weekly season tickets”.

In fact, as Philp and Barwell should know very well, and as Inside Croydon reported at the time, details of the refund system and how to claim compensation were announced a month ago by DafT. The refund announcement was made around the same time that the latest above-inflation fare rises were approved by Barwell and Philp’s Tory government. 

This week, though, rather than provide commuters with a direct link or address for them to make their compensation claim, in a cynical move to acquire more email addresses for campaign purposes, Barwell and Philp suggested that Croydon residents should send them their contact details.

Barwell and Philp could have provided the public with information on how to claim their rail compensation. Instead, they asked them to hand over their personal information

Barwell and Philp could have provided the public with information on how to claim their rail compensation. Instead, they asked them to hand over their personal information

It is, of course, not the first time that Barwell has played fast and loose in efforts to collect personal data, and he has been subject to several complaints to the Data Protection commissioner and parliamentary authorities.

On this occasion, Barwell and Philp’s leaflet prompted Sean Fitzsimons, the Labour councillor for Addiscombe, to accuse the Tories of a “clear case of these two MPs misrepresenting the public”.

If you want to claim compensation from Southern for their incompetent running of the railways, you do not need to send your email or contact details to Barwell or Philp.

Just click here for more information and to make your claim.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Chris Philp MP, Commuting, Croydon Central, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Sean Fitzsimons, TfL, Transport and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Barwell and Philp ‘playing politics’ over Southern Rail chaos

  1. Are we are surprised that they are prepared to sink so low to try and nab a few potential votes (particularly Barwell with his super sized majority)? Me thinks not.

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