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Laidlaw Whitewash Over West Coast Line Franchise Fiasco

6 December 2012

The Laidlaw Inquiry into the West Coast line franchise fiasco was dismissed today as "whitewash that the great Sir Humphrey Appleby would have been delighted with".

The TSSA rail union leader Manuel Cortes said the inquiry could have been scripted by the authors of "Yes Prime Minister".

"Sir Humphrey's first law was to pick a chairman who would come up with the right result, Sam Laidlaw has done just that.

"He has carefully considered the facts and found that private rail franchising can carry on even though in this instance it was based on "serious flawed and inaccurate" methodology which meant Ministers broke their own franchise rules.

"Most importantly, Ministers were not to blame. This is a classic Whitehall whitewash, no one was seriously guilty of anything.

"So we have spent £40 million of taxpayers money on a franchise which has stayed with Sir Richard Branson anyway.

"And now we going to pay him a 1% management feee over the next two years when he should have been paying us for the privilege of running a profitable line which the most expensive fares in Europe.

"The long running Whitehall farce that is rail franchising just gets more ludicrous by the day."
 

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