MP calls for Transport Secretary to resign over collapse of Virgin Trains East Coast contract

Easington MP Grahame Morris is calling for the Transport Secretary to resign following the release of a report into the East Coast Mainline fiasco.

Virgin Trains East Coast had its contract ended earlier this year.
Virgin Trains East Coast had its contract ended earlier this year.

In June, Virgin Trains East Coast (Vtec) became the third company in just over a decade to have its contract to run the east coast mainline prematurely terminated, after anticipated revenue and passenger growth failed to materialise.

A report by the Transport Select Committee, on which Mr Morris sits, found that the Department of Transport encouraged overbidding by setting unrealistic benchmarks in the Invitation to Tender.

Easington MP Grahame Morris

The report also highlighted a departmental failure to conduct appropriate due diligence or financial stress-testing to identify weaknesses in the bids over optimistic passenger growth and revenue assumptions.

As a result of terminating the contract early, the taxpayer will no longer receive the £2 billion that had been expected over the remainder of the franchise.Now Mr Morris is calling for Chris Grayling to resign after a disastrous spell as Transport Secretary.

He said: "The Transport Secretary isn’t fit to run a model railway and through complete incompetence created a franchise process which built in failure.

"If the department had carried out the appropriate due diligence and financial stress testing the third collapse of the East Coast franchise in a decade would have been avoided."The PM is displaying a complete lack of leadership by allowing Mr Grayling to stay in post and is endorsing failure."

He added: "There is a lack of leadership at every level of government and the weakness of the Prime Minister is flowing through to her cabinet Ministers. We need change and a new direction for our rail network, which should be brought back into the public ownership and run in the interests of people and not the profits of a few private shareholders and highly paid executives”