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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
E-mail row over, says crash survivor
Pam Warren
Warren - no longer seeking an apology from Blair
Paddington rail crash survivor Pam Warren has drawn a line under the row over the 'smear' email sent by a government employee.

Mrs Warren said she was happy to move on after new Transport Secretary Alistair Darling met her and other members of the Paddington Rail Survivors Group on Thursday.

The meeting came a week after his department was forced to apologise for an e-mail inquiring into the political background of some the group.

New transport secretary  Alistair Darling
Alistair Darling took over from Stephen Byers
Speaking after their meeting, Mrs Warren said the email was "no longer an issue" and that she was happy with Mr Darling's assurances on the subject of rail safety.

"As far as myself and fellow survivors are concerned, the email issue is no longer an issue," she said.

"We are not now seeking an apology from Tony Blair."

Instead, she went on, the meeting had mainly focused on the issue of rail safety.

She was hopeful "a new broom" had entered the transport department following the resignation of Stephen Byers and positive steps would follow.

"What was refreshing is that he (Mr Darling) was frank, honest and told us his views and I feel that is a very different approach.

"Hopefully this is a new broom coming in and we may see some new developments."

The transport department had been keen to play down the meeting, describing it as "routine", but the email row gave it added significance.

Earlier this month Dan Corry, a former special adviser to Mr Byers, sent the message to Labour Party headquarters trying to discover the political sympathies of the group.

Apology call

Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith accused the government of shamefully trying to "crush" ordinary people for asking awkward questions.

Mrs Warren, the group's former chairman, accepted the apologies but had originally called for Mr Blair to say sorry alongside apologies from Mr Corry and Mr Darling.

The 35-year-old, who wore a surgical mask for several months after the crash to protect scar tissue on her face, had said: "The idea I have a political axe to grind is pathetic.

"I have no political agenda. All I want is safe railways."

Thirty-one people died and 414 were injured when a Thames commuter train leaving Paddington was involved in a head-on collision with a Great Western express service from Cheltenham in 1999.

BBC News Online's in-depth coverage on the state of the UK's railways


10 year rail plan

1,000 MILE RAIL TRIP
See also:

29 May 02 | UK Politics
09 Jun 02 | UK Politics
28 May 02 | UK Politics
18 Jan 02 | UK
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