The privatisation of rail has been a disaster for the UK, according to North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the SNP MP claims rail should have remained nationalised, and has urged the UK Government to admit privatisation “has been a disaster”.

Mrs Gibson said: “The UK Government have now nationalised twice as many rail lines as the Scottish Government, but cling to the ideological view that privatisation has not failed rail services.

“Why will the UK Government not finally admit what everyone else has known for over 30 years, which is that the disastrous experiment with privatisation has been a disaster?

“It has been a disaster for passengers, taxpayers and the rail network.”

Mark Harper MP, secretary of state for transport, defended the privatisation of the rail network, saying a mixed public-private partnership is the way forward.

He explained: “On the eve of the pandemic, passenger numbers had more than doubled since privatisation, services had increased by a third and investment had doubled.

“This included more than £1 billion of private sector investment, while the UK had one of the best safety records for rail in Europe.

“There have clearly been challenges because of the pandemic, and that is one reason why we need to have reform.

“This Government do not have an ideological view. We have already said, and I have said, that we want a public-private partnership.

“There is a role for the state, working with the private sector, to deliver the best services for passengers. That is the right approach, and it is the one we will continue to deliver.”