Transport Secretary: the mistakes over West Coast should not have been made

FirstGroup were awarded the franchise over Virgin back in August
FirstGroup were awarded the franchise over Virgin back in August Photo: PA

Transport Secretary and Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin has told MPs today that mistakes over the West Coast rail franchise should not have been made.

He told the House of Commons Transport Committee today that the implications of the flawed franchise process were "very serious" for the Department for Transport.

He apologised to the taxpayers who are now facing a £40 million bill, after the decision was made by McLoughlin to scrap the franchise process.

Back in August, the DfT, which was then under Transport Secretary Justine Greening, decided to award a new 13 year West Coast franchise to FirstGroup, in stead of current operators Virgin.

Sir Richard Branson, then launched a legal challenge, which led the DfT to discover the flaws within the bidding process.

The bidding was then cancelled, and three DfT civil servants have since then been suspended.

"Mistakes which were made should not have been made. It is very regrettable and very serious for the department."

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary