Grahame Morris MP calls on Transport Secretary to resign
Easington MP Grahame Morris, Member of the Transport Select Committee went further than the committee’s verdict and has called on the Transport Secretary to resign following the release of a report into the East Coast Mainline fiasco.
The Committee’s report, Intercity East Coast Franchise, found that the Department encouraged overbidding by setting unrealistic benchmarks in the Invitation to Tender. The report also highlights a departmental failure to conduct appropriate due diligence or financial stress-testing to identify weaknesses in the bids over optimistic passenger growth and revenue assumptions.
The collapse of the Virgin Trains East Coast is the third time in just over a decade that this franchise has failed. There was naivety and given the history of the franchise Stagecoach and Virgin should have been more aware of the financial risks involved, the report finds.
As a result of terminating the contract early, the taxpayer will no longer receive the £2 billion that had been expected over the remainder of the franchise.
A Member of the Transport Select Committee Grahame Morris MP said:
“Chris Grayling should resign after a disastrous spell as Transport Secretary.
The Transport Secretary isn’t fit to run a model railway and through complete incompetence created a franchise process which built in failure.
If the department had carried out the appropriate due diligence and financial stress testing the third collapse of the East Coast franchise in a decade would have been avoided.
The PM is displaying a complete lack of leadership by allowing Mr Grayling to stay in post and is endorsing failure. Mr Grayling also seems to believe it is important to reward failure. The Transport Secretary’s decision to appoint the Managing Director of the failed Virgin Trains East Coast, David Horner, to the same position in the re-nationalised London North Eastern Railway on an undisclosed, substantial salary and bonus is an insult to passengers and the taxpayer who have to meet the cost of the government’s failure to take responsibility for poor performance.
There is a lack of leadership at every level of government and the weakness of the Prime Minister is flowing through to her cabinet Ministers. We need change and a new direction for our rail network, which should be brought back into the public ownership and run in the interests of people and not the profits of a few private shareholders and highly paid executives”
The Transport Select Committee Report – Intercity East Coast Franchise, is available here