Suspended Department for Transport worker takes legal action

Rail line The West Coast Main Line franchise process was found to be flawed

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A civil servant suspended following the West Coast rail franchise fiasco is to take legal action against the Department for Transport.

Kate Mingay was one of three officials suspended in October after the government scrapped its decision to award the franchise to FirstGroup.

Mrs Mingay, DfT's commercial and technical services director, has said her role was "inaccurately" portrayed.

An independent review into the franchise process is due shortly.

The government scrapped its decision to award the multi-billion-pound West Coast Main Line rail franchise to FirstGroup after "significant technical flaws" were discovered in the bidding process.

An independent inquiry headed by senior business figure Sam Laidlaw was set up, and has already issued some initial findings.

It said that "an accumulation of significant errors... resulted in a flawed process".

Mr Laidlaw, who is a non-executive director of the DfT, is due to give evidence to the House of Commons transport committee next week.

Following her suspension last month, Mrs Mingay issued a statement saying: "'While it has been widely reported in the context of the award of the franchise for the West Coast Main Line that I have been suspended, my role has been inaccurately portrayed, mainly due to statements and other comment made by the Department for Transport itself.

"I would like to make it clear that I did not have lead responsibility for this project. Neither I nor any member of my team had any responsibility for the economic modelling for this project or for any Department for Transport project.

"Nor did I have any responsibility for the financial modelling in respect of this project."

It is believed that a court hearing relating to her case will take place on Thursday.

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