Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden today pledged to continue the fight for better transport links for the resort after being given a key new role on Labour’s front bench.
Mr Marsden, who has been a shadow minister for business, innovation and skills since 2010, has been made a shadow transport minister as part of a reshuffle by Labour leader Ed Miliband.
He will be working for new transport secretary Mary Creagh.
Mr Marsden, who supports The Gazette’s campaign to reinstate a direct rail link between Blackpool and London, said: “It is a big new challenge and a fascinating time to be doing it given everything going on in transport at the moment.
“There are a huge range of issues regarding integrated transport in the North West.
“I have immensely enjoyed all the work I have done particularly on further education and skills which is so important, and this is an area I intend to keep an interest in.”
Mr Marsden added: “Reinstating a direct route between Blackpool and London is part of a range of things we need to do to expand Blackpool’s openess to business, both tourism and non-tourism.
“There is also an issue about improving east to west transport across the region.
“It is crazy it can take as long to get to Sheffield from Blackpool as to London.”
Mr Marsden said scrutinising rail fare increases and highlighting concerns of taxi drivers were also among his priorities in his new role.
He added: “I attended a meeting with Blackpool taxi drivers who raised concerns about proposals to deregulate taxis.
“But it would not make sense to do that somewhere like Blackpool where we would end up with something like three times as many taxis without the space for them.
“Issues like that are best tackled locally.”
The shake-up by Labour means 44 per cent of the shadow cabinet are women, with almost a third elected in the 2010 election.
Announcing the new line-up Mr Miliband said: “Together, this new generation of Labour will work together to reject the pessimism of this coalition government as we set out our vision of what Britain can achieve.”
Mr Marsden, 59, has been MP for Blackpool South since 1997.
He supported Ed Miliband throughout his campaign for the Labour leadership.