GREEN Party parliamentary hopeful Julian Roskams says the the privatisation of the railways has "failed" and the service should be renationalised.

And he is calling on MP Harriett Baldwin to support a private member's bill due to have its second reading next Friday calling on the state to take over the railways.

But Mrs Baldwin has hit back, calling the suggestion a "wacky, far-left socialist idea".

Cllr Roskams, who is also the mayor of Malvern, said: "We need to get back to the idea that railways are a service to be run for the benefit of people, not simply something to profit a shareholder.

"The failure of Network Rail to complete its engineering works over Christmas meant massive train cancellations and terrible inconvenience to large numbers of people. This is yet another example of a failed privatisation."

Under the bill, introduced by Green MP Caroline Lucas, railway companies would be taken back under state control as their franchises expire, or if they break the terms of their franchise agreements.

Mrs Baldwin said: “I certainly won't be backing the Green Party's wacky, far-left Socialist idea of more government borrowing to buy lots of rail operators.

“Increasing the deficit in the vain hope that a state monopoly will do a better job running the railway in the passengers' interest is woolly, wishful thinking.

“However I do want to see Network Rail, First Great Western and London Midland work together more effectively to provide travellers in Worcestershire with a faster, more frequent and more reliable train service on a fully redoubled Cotswold Line."

John Blewitt, chair of the Malvern Green Party, said: "The irony is that some of the biggest profiteers are the state-owned rail companies of our European neighbours. Taxpayers’ money that should be reinvested into services is ending up in the hands of overseas shareholders. By taking back individual franchises when they expire, the government could save over £1 billion a year every year."