Labour move to truncate ScotRail franchise thrown out

A Scottish Labour move to end Abellio's ScotRail franchise early was today rejected by MSPs.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 5:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 5:49 pm
The ten-year ScotRail franchise is due to end in 2025. Picture: Michael Gillen
The ten-year ScotRail franchise is due to end in 2025. Picture: Michael Gillen

The proposal to cancel the contract in 2022 was thrown out by 85 votes to 34.

Transport spokesman Colin Smyth had sought to win backing for ministers to trigger a "break clause" in the franchise agreement in 2020 to terminate the ten-year contract three years before it is due to end in 2025.

Labour wants to nationalise the train operator while the SNP Scottish Government said it would seek a public sector bidder for the next franchise.

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Mr Smyth said ending the ScotRail contract in 2022 would provide a chance to "put passengers before profits" because the "failing" franchise had become a "shambles".

However, connectivity minister Paul Wheelhouse said ScotRail was making significant improvements, and nearly two-thirds of delays were caused by track owner Network Rail.

Scottish Conservatives transport spokesman Jamie Greene also attacked the plans, which he said "makes little sense" because there was no way of knowing what ScotRail's performance would be like in 2020.