Local MP slams Ministers for failure to reveal details of Thames Water meetings

By Oliver Monk

19th Mar 2024 | Local News

Richmond Park MP slams Ministers for failure to reveal details of Thames Water meetings (Photo: Oliver Monk)
Richmond Park MP slams Ministers for failure to reveal details of Thames Water meetings (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney has today slammed government ministers in parliament for failing to reveal details of Thames Water meetings.

She has slammed Conservative Ministers in Parliament over their failure to answer questions regarding meetings held between the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and executives from Thames Water. 

Olney, who has been campaigning for the Government to publish the details of 'Project Timber', the rescue plan in the event of Thames Water's collapse, asked three Written Parliamentary Questions of the Environment Secretary, Steve Barclay, scheduled for response last Friday, 15th March, yet has not received a response. 

Olney's unanswered questions are the following: 

  1. To ask the Secretary of State for DEFRA, how many meetings the permanent secretary of his Department has held with Thames Water on Operation Timber in the last 12 months.
  2. To ask the Secretary of State for DEFRA, if he will publish the minutes of meetings that officials in his Department have had with Thames Water on Operation Timber in each of the last 6 months.
  3. To ask the Secretary of State for DEFRA, when the Permanent Secretary of his Department last met officials from Thames Water to discuss Operation Timber.

The questions follow recent reports that Thames Water had been lobbying Ministers to allow them to levy higher bills and escape sanctions in a bid to avoid going bust.

The Richmond Park MP therefore raised an urgent Point of Order in Parliament today, to ask the Speaker of House of Commons what more could be done to force the Government to come clean on this urgent public matter. 

Last week, the Liberal Democrats called on the Conservatives to put Thames Water into Special Administration.

This would enable it to be restructured as a Public Benefit Company, whilst guaranteeing a continuation of service for all customers. 

Sarah Olney said: "The continual failure from this Conservative Government to be transparent regarding their rescue plans for Thames Water is nothing short of a cover up.

"Ministers must not only come clean regarding what meetings have been had and when, but go further and publish Project Timber in full. 

"Regardless of this ongoing mess, Thames Water is no longer a functioning company, and the government has a choice: either let them limp on or listen to Liberal Democrat calls to put them into special administration and restructure them as a Public Benefit Company." 

     

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