£170 Million HS2 Contract Scrapped After Guido Pressure

Victory! HS2 has scrapped the scandal-hit £170 million contract awarded to CH2M following our repeated revelations of conflicts of interest. The announcement that CH2M will be withdrawing its bid comes on Article 50 day as the government tries to bury the humiliating climb down. The company says it is pulling out due to “protracted delays and ongoing speculation”.

“CH2M today provided formal notice to Hs2 Ltd that we are withdrawing our interest in the Hs2 Phase 2b contract. CH2M has demonstrated all appropriate measures taken throughout to ensure the integrity of the procurement process. Notwithstanding these efforts, we have taken the decision to alleviate any further delays to this critical national infrastructure project which could ultimately lead to increasing costs to UK taxpayers, as well as to our firm.”

The final straw was Guido’s story last week reporting that HS2’s former chief of staff Chris Reynolds had worked on CH2M’s bid as its director for the development partner contract. A stunningly blatant, undeclared conflict of interest, and a win for Guido’s public interest campaigning blogging…

How Guido forced the climb down:

UPDATE: Statement from the rival bidder Mace:

“We have just been informed of CH2M’s decision through Guido Fawkes. The investigation regarding our concerns about conflict of interest has clearly raised some serious questions about the process. A meeting is scheduled between Mace and HS2 on Friday, and we look forward to hearing what HS2 propose to do next and their response to our questions. When millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money is being spent, the public rightly expect decisions to be made following a thorough process and on a level playing field.”

UPDATE II: Taxpayers’ Alliance comment:

“The revolving door between HS2 Ltd and CH2M never passed the smell test and serious questions were rightly raised around HS2 continuously appointing staff from one of their contractors. There was never a convincing case for HS2 and its multi-billion pound budget would be far better spent on local infrastructure projects that would cost much less and deliver much better value for money. Hopefully today’s decision is the first step towards this expensive vanity project being binned altogether.”

UPDATE III: Tory MP Cheryl Gillian says the fiasco is “an extraordinary state of affairs”:

UPDATE IV: CH2M statement:

“As is a matter of public record, HS2 Ltd sought clarification from CH2M on a number of areas. CH2M responded to each of these queries in a timely manner. Furthermore,  CH2M is clear that it went above and beyond the conflict of interest protocols, as set out by HS2 Ltd. HS2 Ltd were aware of the involvement of Mr Reynolds throughout the procurement process, as documented in CH2M’s bid, which expressly identified Christopher Reynolds and included quotes from him. Mr Reynolds’ appointment to CH2M took place 5 months after him leaving HS2 Ltd. Mr Reynolds is a valued member of CH2M staff and brings with him a wealth of technical experience.”




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Quote of the Day

Dominic Cummings tells Damian Collins:

“You talk of ‘contempt of Parliament’. You seem unaware that most of the country feels contempt for Parliament and this contempt is growing.”

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