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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Byers faces resignation demand
Stephen Byers
Stephen Byers: Commons statement on Monday
Transport Secretary Stephen Byers has come under renewed pressure with the Conservatives calling for him to resign.

They have labelled him a "lame duck" over his handling of Railtrack and decision to stand by special adviser Jo Moore, author of the controversial memo suggesting bad news be "buried" in the wake of the 11 September US terror attacks.


His decision to destroy Railtrack has left the rail industry in tatters

Shadow transport secretary Theresa May
The call for him to resign came hours before he was due to face the Commons on the first full day of the new parliamentary session and tell MPs why he put Railtrack into administration and what structure will replace it.

The Tories say the move has set the UK's rail industry back two decades and put 34bn of new investment at risk.

Shadow transport secretary Theresa May said Mr Byers' refusal to dismiss Ms Moore "revealed his preference for spin and presentation over action and delivery".

"His decision to destroy Railtrack has left the rail industry in tatters with no hope of getting the much-needed billions of private investment.

"This is a man who goes for short-term headlines over long-term prudence.

"He is the embodiment of everything that New Labour stands for. He should step down now."

Chunnel offer

Shadow transport minister Eric Pickles told BBC Radio 4's the World at One that Mr Byers had "made a bad situation worse".

Later on Monday Mr Byers is expected to tell the Commons he wants Railtrack's replacement to be a not-for-profits company while also giving some control to train operators.

He is also expected to offer the Railtrack Group the right to run the Channel Tunnel rail link - providing a boost for out-of-pocket shareholders.

The decision would mean that investors might get an extra 75p per share.

It is believed that Mr Byers will make the offer in a letter to Railtrack's parent company, which is not in administration.


Key stories

Background

Safety crisis
 VOTE RESULTS
Should Railtrack's shareholders be compensated?

Yes
 33.04% 

No
 66.96% 

4719 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

15 Oct 01 | Business
Railtrack set for Chunnel deal
15 Oct 01 | Business
Railtrack: What happens now?
14 Oct 01 | Business
Pressure grows for Railtrack inquiry
12 Oct 01 | Business
Channel Tunnel answer on Monday
12 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Profile: Stephen Byers
12 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Byers backs terror memo adviser
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