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Louise Ellman letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin: in full


Louise Ellman letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin: in full
Louise Ellman, chairman of the Transport Committee, has written to the transport secretary ahead of his appearance in front of the panel later this month to ask questions about the West Coast Main Line bidding process. Here is her letter in full. 
From Mrs Louise Ellman MP, Chair

Dear Patrick,

I am writing in advance of your appearance before the Transport Committee on 31 October to find out some further details about the reviews which you have commissioned in the light of the cancellation of the competition for the West Coast Main Line franchise.

Firstly, could you provide us with the terms of reference for the "independent review" to be overseen by Sam Laidlaw and Ed Smith; the date by which they have been asked to report; details of the "independent advisers" who will conduct the review; and details of who in the department the report will be made to. The department's announcement of the review referred to an "initial" report being prepared by the end of the month. Could you explain what further work beyond this report is expected or planned?

I would be grateful if you could confirm that the report of the Laidlaw-Smith review will be publicly available before your appearance before the Committee on 31 October.

There have been press reports that three DfT staff have been suspended as aresult of the cancellation of the West Coast Main Line franchise competition.

Could you confirm this, say at what grade the suspended staff are employed, confirm their tasks and role with respect to the WCML franchise and confirm what reporting arrangements operated between them and the relevant ministers?

Turning to the second independent review I would be grateful if you could provide us with terms of reference; the date by which a report has been requested; details of who is working on the review and how independence from the department will be achieved; who in the department the review will report to; and an assurance that the outcome of the review will be made publicly available.

Finally, could you let us know whether the problems raised with the West Coast Main Line franchise and subsequent suspension of staff are likely to have ramifications for other aspects of your department's work, particularly conclusion of the Thameslink rolling stock procurement. What are the reasons for the delay in completing the Thamelink rolling stock procurement and when do you expect this to be concluded?

Louise Ellman MP

Chair of the Committee

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