Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to reports that the west coast rail franchise fiasco could have been avoided if the Government had not cancelled an external audit, said:
"It’s increasingly evident that ministerial incompetence caused this rail franchise fiasco. It will add insult to injury if £40million and rising of taxpayers' money has gone down the drain because of short-sighted short-cuts made by Ministers, designed to save money but ending up costing vastly more. Added to the decision to slash the number of staff in the Department for Transport by a third in just two years, there are real questions over whether the Tory-led Government's too far too fast cuts contributed to this franchise fiasco.
“This is yet another reason why we need a genuinely independent inquiry led by somebody unconnected to Government, rather than by non-executive directors of the Department for Transport, as proposed by Ministers."