Former Tory chairman appointed chair of Transport for the North

Lord McLoughlin, the former Tory chairman, has been appointed chair of Transport for the North, the statutory body set up to advise ministers on the region’s rail, road and bus needs.

The appointment was confirmed following a meeting of the TfN board this afternoon.

Members said Lord McLoughlin is “the right appointment at the right time” and added he will be “an asset to this Board”.

He will formally take up position from tomorrow.

Lord McLoughlin was Transport Secretary from 2012-16 and leading advocate for HS2 and for the North of England to speak with “one voice on transport.”

He said: “I believe firmly in the potential of the North of England and know from my personal experience and professional career just how vital reliable, cost-effective and sustainable transport is to people and business.

“I have followed the work of TfN since the start – I was Transport Secretary when it was set up – and so I am delighted to be the new Chair of this passionate, dedicated and visionary organisation. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead as part of Team TfN.

“A key focus for the TfN Board remains the need to press the case as to why its preferred approach to Northern Powerhouse Rail remains fundamental to securing the long-term economic future of the North. The government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) goes against the best interest of people in the North and fails to deliver the step-change in rail services that is the only sustainable, long-term solution.”

Justin Moss, Chair of The Railway Industry Association (RIA) North, said:”The Railway Industry Association and its members congratulate Lord McLoughlin on his appointment as Transport for the North Chair. Lord McLoughlin is a strong advocate of the railway supply chain, having worked with the industry as Transport Secretary and as a champion of the industry in Parliament.

“We look forward to working with him at this important time for the rail sector, following the publication of the Integrated Rail Plan and the need to get on with levelling-up the North of England through transport investment.”

Cllr Louise Gittins, Interim Chair of Transport for the North, said: “I’m pleased to be able to welcome Lord McLoughlin to Transport for the North as our new Chair. He has a wealth of experience in transport and the public sector, which I know will put him in good stead for this challenging and important role.

“Having served as Interim Chair since summer 2021, I can say that Lord McLoughlin is joining an organisation that has dedicated people at its core who care about the people in the North and use that passion to work hard in delivering a transport system that the region needs and deserves.”

Lord McLoughlin has had an extensive career in UK politics for more than 30 years, serving as the Member of Parliament for Derbyshire Dales between 1986 and 2019.

His experience in Government included two years as Government Chief Whip from 2010 to 2012, two years as Chairman of the Conservative Party and Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster from 2016 to 2018 and four years as Secretary of State for Transport between 2012 and 2016.

He will Chair his first Board meeting on Wednesday 23 February 2022.