Politicians in south east London have criticised the government for scrapping a competition to take over Southerastern rail services.

MP’s and councillors have written to the Secretary of State Grant Shapps urging a rethink after it  was announced that the Southeastern has been given a five month extension to run the route until April 2020.

Govia currently runs the service, which links London with Kent and parts of East Sussex.

MP’s and councillors have frequently criticised the performance of the railway provider and have hit out the move to have residents use the trains for even longer.

Greenwich Conservative councillor Matt Clare, the opposition spokesman for transport, wrote in a letter to Shapps: “The residents we represent in Greenwich re vociferous about the appalling Southeastern trains service they endure, and we share their frustration over this long-running issue.

“We are therefore writing to urge you to reconsider the Department of Transport’s position on the question of devolving control of the franchise to TfL – a move that has cross party support across the capital.”

The process has frustrated bidders for the franchise, which was put out to tender in November 2017 and again last year before being cancelled by new Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce also penned a letter to the government urging TfL take over the franchise.

She wrote: “I am afraid the decision to cancel the South Eastern franchise competition is more than a disappointment, it represents a failure of the Government to meet its own ambitions for running a privatised rail network.

“There was a proposition that had been agreed in principle between the former Mayor of London and the then Secretary of State for Transport for a devolution of London metro rail services to TfL.

“I was bitterly disappointed that this potential improvement for my long suffering travelling constituents was subsequently thrown out for what many saw as political reasons.”

The Department for Transport said earlier this week: “We have taken the decision to cancel the South Eastern franchise competition.

“This follows significant concerns that continuing the competition process would lead to additional costs incurred to the taxpayer, with no certainty that this would deliver envisaged benefits for passengers in a timely fashion.”