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Government accused of deceit over Railtrack

The Government has been accused of 'a massive deceit' over the collapse of Railtrack, after former Transport Secretary Stephen Byers apologised in court for giving MPs inaccurate information about the affair.
Mr Byers accepted that information he had given a House of Commons select committee about the timing of discussions about putting Railtrack into administration was wrong.

The North Tyneside MP was giving evidence to the High Court in a case being brought against the Government by 50,000 shareholders who claim the rail infrastructure firm was deliberately brought to an end in October 2001, and are demanding £157 million in compensation.

Mr Byers previously told a Commons sub-committee that he was not aware of a possible change in Railtrack's status being discussed by his department before July 25, 2001.

But in court yesterday he was shown documents including emails and notes from Department of Transport officials proving that taking Railtrack into administration had been discussed as early as June.

He admitted his evidence to MPs had been untrue, saying: 'I accept this is not an accurate statement.'

Asked if it was 'deliberately not an accurate statement', he replied: 'It was such a long time ago, I cannot remember, but it is not a truthful statement and I apologise for that.

'I cannot remember the motives behind it.'

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