Suspended Department for Transport Kate Mingay has issued a statement following the cancellation of FirstGroup's West Coast Main Line deal, in which she states her role has been "inaccurately portrayed".
I would like to make it clear that: I did not have lead responsibility for this project; Neither I nor any member of my team had any responsibility for the economic modelling for this project, or for any Department for Transport project; Nor did I have any responsibility for the financial modelling in respect of this project and I have not been involved in briefing Department for Transport ministers or other government ministers in respect of this project.
I will of course cooperate fully with all ongoing and future investigatory processes in relation to this matter, but wanted to correct the completely inaccurate portrayal of my role immediately.
Sir Richard Branson criticised former Transport Secretary Justine Greening today after the government was forced to make an embarrassing U-turn on the West Coast Main Line rail franchise deal.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, the Virgin boss also claimed the Department for Transport had "certainly made the same mistake" with other bids.
The previous minister of transport [Ms Greening] should have just knocked the bid into touch some months ago but chose not to.
I don't know what went on inside the Department for Transport and whether the previous minister knew all the facts or not, but certainly we appreciate the fact they acknowledged that there were major faults in the system and they have stayed the system.
– Sir Richard Branson
When asked if Ms Greening was "incompetent," Sir Richard replied said, "I'd rather not comment on previous ministers".
Obviously, we believe that she should have looked into the situation a bit more carefully and reached the same conclusions that have been reached today maybe some months back but that's past history now.
Speaking to ITV News the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP admits if it had not been for Richard Branson's legal challenge the flaws in Britain's rail franchise system may never have come to light
He said: "If the legal challenge had not been mounted we might not have found these out, that's true."