Grant Shapps mocked after appearing in ‘cringey’ video to advertise discounted rail tickets

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Grant Shapps mocked after appearing in ‘cringey’ video to advertise discounted rail tickets
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Transport Minister Grant Shapps has been mocked for appearing in a bizarre video to promote discounted train tickets.

Rail chiefs are offering passengers more than a million cut-price train journeys in a deal negotiated by Government ministers.

Whitehall officials say the discounted tickets, on sale from today, will connect friends and families, boost the tourism and hospitality industries and encourage green travel.

Standing in a front of a green screen, Mr Shapps can be seen “visiting” popular tourist destinations including London, Edinburgh and Cornwall in a promotional video for the scheme.

Mr Shapps dons a pair of sunglasses and holds a fake crab while promoting Cornwall during a costume change.

Other locations such as London sees Mr Shapps holding shopping bags, while the Lake District scene shows Mr Shapps carrying a backpack and binoculars.

“I want to tell you about a great offer coming to you. It’s the great British rail sale offering over one million rail tickets at up to half price for trips,” he says, before addressing the nation from a station platform about the rail travel slump of the past two years.

Referring to the end of coronavirus restrictions, Mr Shapps says: “We’ve had two years of living life virtually.

“It is time to get real and visit our beautiful country.”

Social media users branded the video “cringey” while others accused it of being a parody.

Dr Alice Lilly wrote on Twitter: “It is 9.31am and I have already watched the Grant Shapps video four times, please stage an intervention.”

Another person commented: “Seriously mate if you’ve got time to make these ridiculous publicity stunt videos you clearly aren’t doing your job properly.”

In a statement, Mr Shapps said: “For the first time ever, operators across the rail industry are coming together to help passengers facing rising costs of living by offering up to 50% off more than a million tickets on journeys across Britain.

“There’s no better time to visit friends, family or just explore our great country, so book your tickets today.”

The sale, said to be the first of its kind, is expected to bring some Manchester to Newcastle journeys down to a little over £10, while seats on some London to Edinburgh services will be slashed from £44 to £22.

Discounted tickets will go on sale from Tuesday April 19, with passengers eligible to travel for less on off-peak fares between April 25 and May 27.

Officials said offering half-price rail tickets was “one of the ways” the Government was helping to support families with the cost of living, having previously announced measures to defer energy costs and offer council tax discounts for some households.

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We want everyone to be able to benefit from travelling by train because it’s more than just a journey, it’s a way to connect everyone to the people, places and things they love.

“As part of the Great British Rail Sale customers will enjoy over one million discounted tickets, so they can explore some of the fantastic locations that are accessible by rail.”

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