Government questioned as leak enquiry delays East Midlands franchise confirmation
7 May 2019 (updated on 7 May 2019)
The Shadow Transport Secretary asked an urgent question, as contract signing on the East Midlands rail franchise is delayed to allow investigation of a leak during the bidding process.
The Department for Transport has delayed the final sign-off of the East Midlands rail franchise award, extending the standstill period (a ten day pause between award and signing of contracts) by a week. It is alleged that details of the current franchise holder, Stagecoach's bid were leaked last summer to Abellio, who were last month awarded the contract.
The bidding and award process for the rail franchise, which is currently operated by Stagecoach, has attracted significant Parliamentary scrutiny, after Stagecoach were prevented from bidding on this and two other franchises as a result of their pensions policy.
Speaking for the Government, Andrew Jones said,
"It was a fair, open competition and Abellio provided the best bid for passengers in which it demonstrated that it will not only meet but exceed the Department's specifications"
Responding, Andy McDonald said;
"The leak of the Stagecoach bid details to Abellio during the bidding, casts further doubt on the integrity of the process."
Image: Christopher Hall via Geograph