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Minister accused of holding information

Tories say Yousaf ‘knew about rail delay’

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf: knew about delay

The SNP has been accused of holding back information it had before the general election on a delay to a flagship rail project.

It emerged at the weekend that the electrification of the line between Glasgow and Edinburgh would not be operational until the autumn, almost a year behind schedule.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf has admitted he was informed of the delay on 25 May, a fortnight before the country went to the polls.

He told Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Liam Kerr that he received the letter from Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne more than two weeks ago. He us now come under pressure to publish the correspondence.

Scottish Tories said Mr Yousaf tried to shift the blame onto Network Rail, but note that he previously took credit for the project.

The project is part of a £795 million improvement programme across the ScotRail network.

Despite being reluctant to reveal details of the delays ahead of the General Election, the Scottish Government made several separate funding announcements during that period, prompting accusations of breaching rules on purdah.

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Liam Kerr said:There are serious questions to be asked about why the Scottish Government kept this important information to itself for so long.

“The transport minister admitted he was informed on May 25, yet we had to wait until Sunday until those key details emerged.

“Many will suspect the impending General Election may have influenced the SNP’s decision to keep this bad news under wraps.

“That’s irresponsible government, especially during a period where the SNP was more than happy to make contentious funding announcements during a period of purdah.

“Now the minister has confirmed he has this letter, he should make it public immediately.”

Mark Carne told MSPs on Wednesday that he could not give a “cast-iron guarantee” that a full electric train service would start between the two cities in December.

H said delays to the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (Egip) were “most regrettable” and they would increase its cost, which is currently estimated by Network Rail as £804 million.

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