HS2 Chairman Faces Select Committee Showdown

HS2 chairman David Higgins faces a showdown with the Transport select committee over the £170 million cancelled contract debacle. Transport committee chair Louise Ellman says she wants a session on the fiasco “as soon as possible”. Pressure is beginning to be applied to the beleaguered HS2 board, which has been hit by a spate of recent high profile departures, including of its director-general David Prout, strategy director Alistair Kirk and information chief James Findlay. Rumours have been swirling that Higgins – who has just taken on a second job as chairman of Gatwick Airport – may not be long for the world of HS2. Select committee members will want to ask if HS2’s double jobbing boss took his eye off the ball…

With Chris Grayling rejecting suggestions that the £170 million tender should be re-run, US construction giant Bechtel is the favourite to take the contract. So it is unfortunate that the weekend papers revealed links between Bechtel and a middleman named in British courts as involved in corruption in Abu Dhabi. One to watch. For the £170 million HS2 contract to be mired in sleaze allegations all over again would heap further pressure on the project…




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Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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