BRAINTREE’S MP has joined calls for the government to reduce the amount of time rail operators get before they have to pay compensation for delayed services.

James Cleverly teamed up with fellow north Essex MP’s during a debate in the House of Commons about making rail company’s pay compensation to passengers whose service is at least 15 minutes late.

The existing scheme offered by Greater Anglia, which operates trains in the region, means the firm will only pay compensation to passengers who are delayed by 30 minutes or more.

Mr Cleverly supported the motion put forward by Colchester MP Will Quince to reduce the compensation window but insisted Great Anglia’s main focus should be on running a reliable servic.

Speaking during the debate, the Tory claimed he had been 'inundated' with letters sent by angry constituents in recent weeks expressing their dismay at the unreliable service on the Braintree branch line.

He said: “Whilst the debate is quite rightly about the introduction of a delay repayment, ideally we would want a situation where my constituents and commuters did not have to rely on repayment or compensation for a delayed service.

“What they really want is a regular, reliable service.

“We understand that as a branch line service we have a limited number of trains at our disposal. It is therefore so very, very important that reliability is at the forefront of the train operating company’s priorities.

“I have had anecdotal reports that a number of people have lost their jobs or have been refused job opportunities because they were able to make the reliability they needed to as a direct result of the lack of reliability of the service on my branch line.”

Back in January, Mr Cleverly revealed he had written a letter to government bosses about the poor service offered to Braintree branch line users by Greater Anglia.

During Wednesday's debate in the Commons, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party went on to point out that delays one the rail line was having a detrimental impact on commuters home life, as well as discouraging people to use the train rather than their cars.

He added: "I want to echo the calls he has made but rather than just repeat the request he has made to the minister, there are certain other things I would like him to consider.

"When it comes to encouraging people to use more environmentally friendly modes of transport I find it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with my constituents about leaving their cars behind.

"Even those people in Braintree who have the best opportunity of my constituents to step away from the internal combustion engine its very difficult for me to persuade them to do so when their immediate response is ‘I have to rely on my car because I cannot rely on the trains and so its not just about train services this lack of reliability has an impact on but also on environmentally friendly modes of transport."