McLoughlin set to face MPs over failed franchise

Marion Dakers
TRANSPORT secretary Patrick McLoughlin will be grilled by MPs over the collapse of the West Coast rail franchise deal at the end of the month.

Louise Ellman, Labour MP and chair of the transport select committee, wants to bring McLoughlin and his permanent secretary back in front of the committee, following their appearance last month in which they insisted the process was on track.

“This has caused chaos for the future of the West Coast main line and may have implications for other franchises elsewhere. This has already cost £40m, and that’s just the beginning,” Ellman told City A.M. yesterday. “At this stage we want to know what has been found, and when and how it came out.”

The minister’s appearance has been scheduled for 31 October, the day a report into the failings of the West Coast franchise is due to be completed.

Former transport secretary Philip Hammond claimed yesterday that ministers were as a rule not presented with the full bids. “Civil servants process them, civil servants standardise them, so that ministers can be presented, usually with code words substituted for the names of bidders,” he told the BBC.