1:27pm Tuesday 8th January 2013
CHELMSFORD’S MP has vowed to travel by train more often after being criticised nationally for commuting in a £80,000-a-year chauffeur driven car.
Conversative politician Simon Burns, who is Minister for Transport, said he has “reviewed” his travelling arrangements after the Mail on Sunday revealed how he makes the daily 35 mile journey to work.
The revelation has caused much anger among opposition MPs and commuters as it comes just a week after season ticket prices for train users went up by 4.3 per cent in his own constituency.
On Tuesday, Mr Burns apologised and said he would travel by train more regularly.
In a statement Mr Burns said: “In light of the response to recent stories about my travel arrangements, I have decided to adjust my working hours and as a result how I travel to and from work.
“Although I am a regular train user, as I do not have a London home I used an official car to enable me to work on my way to and from the office.
“These arrangements were made in good faith and were not intended as a snub to hard-pressed rail travellers.”
The arrangement had originally been unearthed by Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East, after he submitted a parliamentary question.
Department for Transport officials have defended Burns, saying he was doing nothing wrong according to the Government’s code of practice.
A spokesperson for the department said: “The minister does not have a London home and has tended to in the past work on confidential papers on his way to work.
“Each Government department has a car and it is used for lots of different things to help ministers, from getting to work to travelling between meetings.
“Mr Burns has reflected on his use of the car and decided he can perhaps make a few changes to his commuting.”
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