EU Exit Preparations: Ferry Contracts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:58 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 1:58 pm, 5th March 2019

The hon. Lady makes a valid point. An awful lot of people are looking at these eye-watering sums and thinking about what else could benefit from such interventions. That really makes my point for me: the Transport Secretary’s record is that of a departmental wrecking ball. Almost every decision he made as Secretary of State for Justice was damaging and eventually reversed, at significant cost to the taxpayer. As Secretary of State for Transport, he has repeatedly thrown our transport networks into chaos, wasting obscene amounts of public money. A £2 billion bail-out for Virgin Trains on the east coast line; his failure to prepare airports for drone attacks; his awarding of contracts to Carillion when the company was on the verge of collapse; the rail timetabling chaos; the privatisation of probation services; the banning of books from prisons—the list goes on and on.

Research into the total cost of the Secretary of State’s mistakes, both in his current role and at the Ministry of Justice, found that he has cost the taxpayer £2.7 billion. That money could have paid for the annual salaries of 118,000 nurses or 94,000 secondary school teachers. Instead, it has been squandered. He has even wasted more money than the Prime Minister offered as a Brexit bribe to towns. Shamefully, all this has been allowed by the Prime Minister, who keeps him in post because she is short of allies in the Cabinet. The country is being made to pay a heavy price for her political weakness. This would be unacceptable at any time—