Thousands of people travel from our five train stations in Welwyn Hatfield every day. Many for work, others for leisure, or to travel to vital medical appointments. You know this well having served as Transport Secretary until recently.
In your time as Transport Secretary, it was widely reported that you initiated the national plans to close ticket offices at our stations.
These plans are now being carried out by your successor and Conservative colleague in Cabinet. The stated intention of your Conservative government is for us to no longer have ticket offices at Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Welham Green, Welwyn Garden City and Welwyn North.
Closing our ticket offices will be disruptive for many people, but will have an especially damaging impact on those with disabilities. The RNIB has found that 58% of people who are blind or partially sighted find it impossible to buy their tickets using a vending machine. We face the real prospect of disabled people being forced off the train network because they simply have no way to purchase a ticket. It is completely wrong.
You seem to be very busy on social media, but haven't found the time to comment on this issue. I can only assume this is because you support the closure of ticket offices in Welwyn Hatfield and your plans as Transport Secretary are now coming into effect. I wanted to write an open letter to give you the opportunity to put your position on record and in writing.
As the Labour candidate for Welwyn Hatfield my position is clear. I oppose the closures and stand with all the local people who have signed a petition and responded to the consultation to keep our ticket offices open.
Given the importance of this issue and the fact the consultation closes on the 1st September, I have made this letter public.
Labour Parliamentary candidate for Welwyn Hatfield