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Express & Star comment: Public inquiry into Carillion is fully justifiable

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

Where to start with the aftermath of the Carillion collapse?

Carillion's Wolverhampton HQ

As thousands of people face uncertainty over the future of their pensions, and almost 20,000 workers are concerned about their jobs, Labour has started politicking around the issue.

Meanwhile, to the surprise of nobody, the banks have put themselves first and ruled out any potential lifeline for the crisis-hit firm.

Amongst all of this, we have a local MP who admits she had concerns about Carillion back in September but decided to keep quiet in case she was accused of scaremongering.

It is all well and good Eleanor Smith saying she feared being vilified for undermining the Government, but it is her duty to represent the people of her constituency and in cases such as this, the city as a whole.

In her defence, Ms Smith is a relatively new MP, having only been elected last year.

But she needs to learn quickly that it is as part of her duty to speak up in Parliament on such crucial matters.

Crisis

There is no escaping the fact that this is a very real crisis affecting thousands of people.

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The directors and auditors have some very serious questions that must be answered.

It is only right that the independent bodies tasked with investigating this whole sorry saga should look into the actions of company directors past and present.

They have taken a small fortune out of the firm and must be held to account.

In this instance, a public inquiry seems fully justifiable.

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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has accused the Government of being too pally with Carillion, suggesting that ministers handed the firm contracts in recent months in an all-out effort to save it.

Although his comments have been rebuffed by Treasury Secretary Liz Truss, he is right to ask why the Government did not intervene in the company's operations when the warning signs were there for all to see.

The reasons behind the failure of Carillion must be examined in detail and made public as soon as possible.

Above all, one thing is certain.

This must not be an issue that descends into political point scoring, before eventually being allowed to drift out of the public eye.

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