A Commons select committee chairwoman has strongly criticised the Department for Transport (DfT) as the West Coast rail franchise fiasco took another turn.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin had to abandon the West Coast franchise bidding after DfT errors were discovered in the bidding process.
With three DfT officials being suspended, Mr McLoughlin appointed businessman Sam Laidlaw to head an independent review into the fiasco, and his report was handed to the department last week.
The House of Commons Transport Committee had been due to hear evidence from Mr Laidlaw. But the hearing has had to be postponed as the DfT has still not published the Laidlaw report, with one of the suspended department officials, Kate Mingay, having started legal proceedings against the DfT.
The Commons Transport Committee chair Louise Ellman (Lab: Liverpool Riverside) said: "I am very disappointed that the Government has delayed publication of Sam Laidlaw's final report into the collapse of the West Coast Main Line franchise competition.
"It was expected that the report would be released last week and, as a result, we arranged to hear oral evidence from Mr Laidlaw and his colleague Ed Smith on December 4."
She continued: "Not only has the report not appeared, but the DfT has not had the courtesy to contact us directly about the delay nor explain when this document will be made public.
"It is regrettable that the DfT should have added to the confusion caused by the abandonment of the West Coast competition with this episode.
"We have reluctantly decided to postpone the evidence session on the Laidlaw report until Tuesday December 18 at 10am, by which time the Laidlaw report should be in the public domain."
A DfT spokesman said: "Given the level of detail in the report and the complex legal and commercial issues it covers, it is right that ministers and the department have an opportunity to consider fully its findings before formal publication. However, we fully intend to publish the report and will do so as soon as possible."
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport(Department for Transport)