Ministers have been told that failure to manage the West Coast Main Line franchise properly has cast doubt over the justification for a new high speed rail one by one of the projects biggest supporters.
Opponents of high speed two, the proposed line from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, have seized on the Governments admission that the contest to run the West Coast Main Line was flawed and would be restarted.
But similar concerns have now been expressed by Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston), one of the projects backers, who urged ministers to double check their sums.
Ms Stuart made the comment in the House of Commons as Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin was explaining to MPs that two new competitions would be held for the franchise to provide inter-city on the West Coast Main Line, which runs from London to Birmingham and Manchester.
Virgin Trains, which had been due to lose the franchise on December 9, will instead be allowed to continue operating it for up to 13 months.
In the meantime, a contest will be held for an operator to run a short term service, likely to last around two years.
This will provide time for two government inquiries to report their findings. One, led by Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of energy company Centrica, will look at what went wrong with the West Coast Main Line franchise contest, while the other, led by Eurostar chairman Richard Brown, will look at the entire system of railway franchising.
The Department for Transport has admitted that officials made mistakes in the way they evaluated the level of risk involved in rival franchise bids, including those from Virgin and from rival operator FirstGroup, which was deemed the winner before the errors were spotted.
In a statement earlier this month, it admitted: Mistakes were made in the way in which inflation and passenger numbers were taken into account, and how much money bidders were then asked to guarantee as a result.
Ministers have denied that this casts any doubt over the business case for the high speed rail line known as HS2, which will cost s32.7 billion to build. They point out that HS2 is overseen by a business called HS2 Ltd, which is owned by the DfT but has its own staff.
But concerns were raised by Ms Stuart, who said: I want HS2 to happen, because it would be good for Birmingham, but I also want to ensure that it is based on accurate and reliable figures. Will the Secretary of State ensure that his review will identify any errors and miscalculations, and whether or not they relate to HS2, and will he ensure this is a sound calculation?