Posted 14th April 2020 | 1 Comment

14 April: news in brief

RMT’s Steve Hedley faces probe after Boris remark

THE assistant general secretary of the RMT union faces a formal probe after he was suspended from duty over Easter. The action was taken on Good Friday after he had reportedly said on Facebook that he would be ‘throwing a party’ if Boris Johnson failed to survive his coronavirus attack. The union has distanced itself from his message, saying: ‘Following a meeting of the union's National Executive a decision has been made to suspend senior assistant general secretary Steve Hedley with immediate effect while a formal investigation takes place into his conduct.’ In a joint statement, RMT president Michelle Rodgers and general secretary Mick Cash added: ‘Steve Hedley's comments do not represent the views of this trade union and are wholly unacceptable.’ The Prime Minister has now been discharged from St Thomas’s Hospital in London and is recovering at Chequers, the country residence of prime ministers.

Train services restored after tree damage

A FALLEN tree damaged the overhead power lines near Bescot Stadium in the West Midlands during the evening of Easter Sunday, causing all train services to be suspended between Walsall and Birmingham New Street, while only a limited rail service was possible between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley. West Midlands Trains provided replacement buses while Network Rail engineers repaired the damage on Easter Monday. Normal train services are now running again between Birrmingham, Walsall and Rugeley, according to National Rail.

Naturalist to continue HS2 challenge

NATURALIST and broadcaster Chris Packham has refused to accept the rejection of his application for a judicial review of HS2 Phase 1. He had claimed that the environmental damage would be unacceptable, partly because ancient woodlands will be destroyed, but the High Court ruled that there is no case for an urgent injunction halting the work. At the time, the court said: ‘The clearance works were long ago authorised by parliament and there is a strong public interest in ensuring that, in a democracy, activities sanctioned by parliament are not stopped by individuals merely because they do not personally agree with them.’ However, Mr Packham has announced that he is to appeal. He said: ‘In these times of climate and environmental emergency, resilience is key. Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to muster and protect what we have left.’

HS2 work to restart at Euston

WORK on the HS2 site at London Euston had been set to restart today, but contractors will now return at the beginning of next week instead. Work on most HS2 sites, except some in the West Midlands, had been paused during the coronavirus outbreak, but HS2 Ltd said some of its contractors had now decided to restart at a ‘limited number’ of sites elsewhere. A spokesman continued: ‘Our contractors have thoroughly risk-assessed these activities and are confident they can be undertaken safely, protecting our staff and the communities in which we are working. Following further planning to ensure works follow the PHE guidance, Network Rail are now planning to restart work at the Euston site from Monday 20 April.’ The west ramp and the canopy over platforms 17 and 18 are reported to be early candidates for demolition.

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  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    Congratulations to Michelle & Mick for suspending him.