Tory MPs call for fresh look at Bombardier decision

Department of Transport's decision over Bombardier questioned by MPs Photo: Bombardier

Four Conservative MPs have written to the Department of Transport (DfT) asking for a fresh look at the decision not to award a lucrative contract to the Derby-based train-maker Bombardier.

It follows the furore over the department's handling of the West Coast main line franchise.

The Government yesterday scrapped the franchise deal which had controversially seen the service pass from Richard Branson's Virgin Trains to First Group. The Transport Secretary and Derbyshire Dales MP, Patrick McLoughlin, admitted there had been significant flaws in the bidding process. Three civil servants have been suspended. It's estimated the decision will cost the taxpayer at least £40 million.Now questions are being asked about other DfT decisions, including giving the £1.4 billion contract to build carriages for the Thameslink project to the German firm Siemens. There was fury among workers and unions that Bombardier missed out on the deal, leading to protests in Derby and the loss of around 1000 jobs.

Tory MPs Pauline Latham (Mid-Derbyshire), Nigel Mills (Amber Valley), Heather Wheeler (S. Derbyshire) and Andrew Griffiths (Burton) have written a joint letter to Mr McLoughlin urging him to revisit the Thameslink deal. In the letter, which has been seen by ITV Central, they say:

One of the letters written to the Department of Transport Credit: ITV Central

"We urge you to instruct the Department to pause the process on the contract for the manufacture and maintenance of the rolling stock for the Thameslink programme."

Mr McLoughlin has ordered two reviews into the West Coast main line franchise process. He has also put all outstanding franchise competitions on hold until the reviews are complete.