– FirstGroup statment
Until this point we had absolutely no indication that there were any issues with the franchise letting process and had received assurances from the DfT that its processes were robust and that it expected to sign the contract with FirstGroup soon.
We are extremely disappointed to learn this news and await the outcome of the DfT's inquiries.
The DfT has made it clear to us that we are in no way at fault, having followed the due process correctly.
We submitted a strong bid, in good faith and in strict accordance with the DfT's terms.
The Department for Transport is "no longer contesting the judicial review sought by Virgin Trains Ltd in the High Court".
All other outstanding franchise competitions - Great Western, Essex Thameside and Thameslink - will be paused pending the independent reviews.
The DfT said mistakes were made in the way inflation and passenger numbers were taken into account and how much bidders asked to pay.
The DfT also admitted if it had not been forced to examine its own process in its attempt to fight Virgin Trains' legal bid it would not have found these errors.
- FirstGroup, who were due to take over the running of the West Coast Main Line in December, will no longer be awarded the franchise.
- The Department for Transport will no longer contest the judicial review sought by Sir Richard Branson's company Virgin Rail - who currently run the service.
- Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has ordered two independent reviews into the competition process.
- An announcement is expected later today about the suspension of government staff while investigations are conducted.
- The Government has paused all other outstanding franchise competitions.
- Officials have now been asked to examine the options for the operation of the service after December 9.
– DfT permanent secretary Philip Rutnam
The errors exposed by our investigation are deeply concerning. They show a lack of good process and a lack of proper quality assurance.
I am determined to identify exactly what went wrong and why, and to put these things right so that we never find ourselves in this position again.
Liberal Democrats president Tim Farron tweeted:
I welcome the news that the government has agreed to re-run the West Coast Main Line tender. This time passengers must be listened to!
– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
I have had to cancel the competition for the running of the West Coast franchise because of deeply regrettable and completely unacceptable mistakes made by my department in the way it managed the process.
A detailed examination by my officials into what happened has revealed these flaws and means it is no longer possible to award a new franchise on the basis of the competition that was held.
I have ordered two independent reviews to look urgently and thoroughly into the matter so that we know what exactly happened and how we can make sure our rail franchise programme is fit for purpose.
The competition to run trains on the West Coast Main Line has been cancelled following the discovery of significant technical flaws in the way the franchise process was conducted, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced.