It’s safe to say that Chris Grayling’s trip to Qatar hasn’t exactly gone to plan. The Transport Secretary has been accused of ‘going into hiding’ in the Middle East following his decision to be out of the country on the day train fares are revealed to have their biggest rise in five years. That announcement has gone down like a cup of cold sick with many commuters, with protests already underway.
After some prodding from hacks, the Department for Transport has – slowly – managed to release details about the trip: ‘a pre-planned visit to promote the UK overseas, support British jobs and strengthen the important relationship between the two countries’. However, in a sign that the pressure is getting to Grayling, the Cabinet minister has finally surfaced. Grayling has just made his first media appearance of the day – checking in with Iain Dale on LBC.
The Transport Secretary insists that it’s more important he is in Qatar today than in Britain answering questions:
‘I don’t think I’ve shirked the issue, but I think it’s really important we get out and try and win business for Britain.
Today, my presence in the country doesn’t make any difference – I can make a difference trying to help Britain get more jobs.’
Mr S suspects this won’t be the last intervention Grayling has to make while abroad…