Government accused over minister's move

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

LABOUR yesterday accused the Government of being 'economical with the truth' over the appointment of John MacGregor, the former Secretary of State for Transport, to the board of the merchant bank Hill Samuel, one of the Government's advisers on rail privatisation, writes Christian Wolmar.

Brian Wilson, Labour's transport spokesman, said the Department of Transport had failed to mention that Hill Samuel was appointed as adviser to British Rail on the day that Mr MacGregor left the Government.

He said last night: 'The Department of Transport acknowledged that Hill Samuel had acted as advisers on the Channel tunnel rail link, though claiming that Mr MacGregor had no part in the appointment, they have made no reference to the merchant bank's role as an adviser to British Rail.

'It is no coincidence the appointment was made on the day Mr MacGregor was sacked.' Hill Samuel, where Mr MacGregor also worked before becoming a minister in the early 1980s, is advising the British Rail Board on the sale of various BR assets and companies.

Mr Wilson said: 'Mr MacGregor created a programme of fragmentation in advance of privatisation. Hill Samuel is a direct beneficiary of that policy. Now he is taking his inside knowledge to Hill Samuel. It stinks.'

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