It looks like it’s game over tonight for Labour Transport boss, Mark Bradshaw’s plan to build a rapid bus route on the much-loved Bristol and Bath Railway Path.
Earlier today Bradshaw’s cabinet colleague and fellow Labour Party member, Rosalie Walker hammered a very well-placed nail into the plan’s emerging coffin when she told a constituent, “I will oppose [the BRT route] but I think you need to contact Mark Bradshaw about this as he is the executive member.”
It’s hard to see how the plan can possibly continue now that it’s been revealed that Bradshaw doesn’t even enjoy the support of his own cabinet colleagues and hasn’t even got the clout or authority to keep them quiet.
It is also clear from Walker’s statement that Bradshaw had gone ahead with the plan without even discussing, let alone getting agreement, from his own cabinet colleagues or party members.
And it’s yet another example – as if it were needed – of the weakness, lack of discipline and hopelessly poor leadership from Helen Holland’s embarrassing mess of an administration. This is a party in office not in power.
Walker joins a growing queue of politicians who are very publicly and very openly rejecting Bradshaw’s plan. They include MPs Kerry McCarthy, Labour and Stephen Williams, Lib Dem; Labour councillor Faruk Choudhury; Lib Dems Sylvia Townsend and Abdul Malik; Tory Lesley Alexander and Green Charlie Bolton.
At present a motion to reject the plan proposed by Charlie Bolton is set to be debated at the next Full Council Meeting on 1 April. But you have to wonder if it will go ahead now. Bradshaw is clearly on his own and this debate can surely only end in a very public and very personal humiliation for him.
Bradshaw’s only known supporters – so far – are faceless city council transport bureaucrat, Colin Knight, First Bus, some transport consultants who don’t know one end of the city from the other and are set to make a mint from the scheme and Cancer editor Mike Norton, who seems to live on another planet.
Perhaps Bradshaw needs to pick up that phone first thing tomorrow morning and tell West of England Partnership boss, Simon Birch, the plan’s cancelled? He can then publish a press release to that effect in the afternoon and all the campaigners can get on with their lives and he can start devising a proper public transport plan for the city instead.
Or he can go on with absolutely no support …
Coming soon: another nail in the coffin. Bradshaw’s Labour colleague Parliamentary candidate Paul Smith interviewed from the Railway Path and he’s not in favour!