MPs call for Thameslink probe

A committee of MPs has claimed the government’s procurement of the Thameslink rolling stock PPP should be independently reviewed by the National Audit Office.

The Commons transport committee has written to the Comptroller and Auditor General seeking the independent report, which would be returned to Parliament before summer 2012.

Depending on the outcome of the report, the inquiry could delay the progress of the scheme.

Siemens was named preferred bidder on the project in June, but the decision caused controversy because rival bidder Bombardier had warned it would have to make significant redundancies in the UK if it did not win the deal.

The decision prompted then Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Vince Cable to write to Prime Minister David Cameron calling on him to rethink the way procurement rules are applied.

“We could not evaluate whether the decision to choose Siemens was arrived at correctly because all of the bids were and remain confidential,” said committee chair Louise Ellman. “We believe that in the public interest an independent review must evaluate whether this massive contract was awarded correctly on the basis of the criteria in the original invitation to tender.”