In an official response to a scathing report by the House of Commons transport select committee, which had said the PPP contracts were "pretty much useless", the Department for Transport said: "The government is clear that this was predominantly a corporate failure, and that the structural weaknesses of Metronet led to its own downfall."
This response is quite unbelievable. With the three major candidates for Mayor calling for, at the very least, stronger contracts to place the burden of PPP contacts with the bidder rather than the taxpayer, the Government appears unable to accept that its role in this mess. The weak contract bargaining by the Treasury and the Department for Transport is directly responsible for the £2bn hole currently eating into the public finances.
Perhaps more worrying is the impact that the Government's response will have on future negotiations. With a Mayoral election nearby, if a hostile candidate is returned to office what mood will the Government be in to accede to his or her manifesto promises? Are all our candidates now bound by the Government's refusal to answer for its own mistakes?