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A statement from West Coast mainline operator Virgin Trains about its decision to take legal action over the Government's decision to award a new West Coast franchise to FirstGroup.
West Coast mainline operator Virgin Trains has announced that it has commenced court proceedings over the Government's decision to award a new West Coast franchise to transport company FirstGroup.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening told BBC Breakfast that the West Coast Mainline contract will go ahead to take the franchise from Virgin Trains and award it to FirstGroup.
Labour has urged the Government to put the decision on hold until Parliament returns next week so MPs have the chance to fully scrutinise the deal.
The government has turned down a last-ditch attempt by Richard Branson to delay the transfer of the West Coast mainline away from his Virgin trains.
As our Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports, despite Labour and more than 100,000 petitioners backing an inquiry into Virgin's loss of the contract, Branson's offer to run the line for free while a review took place, has been rejected by the Department for Transport.
The Department for Transport dismissed Sir Richard Branson's offer to run the service on a not-for-profit basis to allow the deal to be re-examined, insisting it would go ahead with the contract.
Labour is urging the Government to delay signing a new West Coast Mainline contract so MPs have a chance to fully scrutinise the deal.
Maria Eagle, the shadow transport secretary, said the decision to take the franchise from Virgin Trains and award it to FirstGroup should be put on hold until Parliament returns next week.
The politician said there were concerns over how the move would affect fares and levels of service.
Sir Richard Branson has offered to run the West Coast Main Line for free to allow Parliament time to debate the decision to award the franchise to rail giant FirstGroup. The entrepreneur made a last-ditch appeal to the Government to delay signing the 13-year contract on Tuesday.
Sir Richard said Virgin Trains and Stagecoach would operate the line on a not-for-profit basis or donate profits to charity if the franchise needed to be extended beyond December for a few months to allow Parliament to investigate the decision.
In an opinion piece for the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Richard said: "It is far better for MPs to have the chance to debate the issues, and question ministers on the detail before the decision is finalised.
"To assist in this process, there should be an independent audit of the DfT decision to ensure it has been based on correct criteria and reliable forecasting of customer numbers, revenue and payments to Government.
"We must ensure that this crucial decision is taken with all the facts correctly assessed and understood."
Latest ITV News reports
Remember the Virgin Trains mess? Later an official report into what went wrong will be made public.