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Maria Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the Government's decision to abandon the West Coast Mainline franchise competition, said:

"The West Coast rail franchise fiasco has yet again exposed the shambolic incompetence of this Tory-led Government.

"Ministers have spent weeks refusing to listen to Labour's call to suspend the award of this contract to enable an independent review to take place.

Only last week the Transport Secretary repeated his claim that the process was conducted properly and he would hand over the franchise to First on time, despite all the concerns that had been raised.  The Government's belated admission that it ran a flawed tendering process will come as a surprise to no one.

"The Transport Secretary must now reveal the full details of what went wrong and come clean on the full  cost to taxpayers of this shambles. It will be appalling if Ministerial incompetence has left the Government open to legal challenge for which taxpayers will pick up the bill.

"Passengers and staff deserve immediate reassurance about the future of the West Coast service. If the Government now transfers the running of this line to its own not for private profit rail company, as seems sensible and likely, then Labour will support that decision. Ministers must also now abandon the planned privatisation of the East Coast line"


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