Brexit aside, trains are one of the big issues on Peter Kyle MP’s agenda. “I never thought I’d become a train nerd,” he told trainees at Brighton Journalist Works…
The MP for Hove said it was the effect on commuters’ mental health due to the consistent delays to the train service that was one of his main concerns. He said the enormous impact of stress it causes on family life – whether missing bedtime stories and family dinners or being late for date-night – cannot be ignored. Everyone he talks to has a horror story.
Govia Thameslink chief executive Charles Horton resigned minutes before Peter arrived at BJW. Trainee James Fox quizzed him for his reaction and Peter said it was about time someone took responsibility.
Peter Kyle left school with very few qualifications and it was the Body Shop’s Anita Roddick who told him he had to get himself to university. He went back to secondary school at the age of 25 and after a couple of attempts he was accepted by the University of Sussex and went on to get a doctorate in community development there. Not everyone is lucky enough to have this encouragement or a second chance and he often wonders how many potential PhD students or entrepreneurs have slipped through the net because opportunities were not offered to them.
Opportunity is key and a crucial piece of advice he gave to NCTJ trainees was to “spew the questions” and never miss out on a chance to ask that burning question in a press conference. At the same time, he advised that a journalist with a reasonable manner would always go a long way. Peter is keen to draw the line with those who don’t play fair. He believes truth, honesty and transparency are key to a successful relationship between journalists and politicians. Wise words for BJW’s fast-track graduates hitting the job hunting market this month.