- Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn clash over Carillion collapse.
- The Labour leader accused the government of being “deeply negligent” in a heated PMQs.
- May defended the government’s handling of the crisis and said Labour authorities gave the in-crisis company contracts after profit warnings.
LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn accused Theresa May’s government of being “deeply negligent” in a heated exchange over the collapse of Carillion in this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
The Labour leader asked Prime Minister Theresa May to explain why the government continued to award contracts to the in-crisis construction company decide repeated profit warnings.
“It [the government] did so even after the share price was in freefall and the company issues profit warnings. Why did the government do that?” Corbyn asked May.
“It looks like the government was handing Carillion public contracts either to keep the company afloat – which hasn’t worked – or was just deeply negligent to the crisis coming down the line.”
Watch May and Corbyn clash over the Carillion collapse
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 17, 2018
The construction firm was one of the government’s biggest contractors until it collapsed into liquidation on Monday after it ran up huge losses on contracts and battled heavy debts. The firm racked up £1.5bn of debts and liabilities.
The prime minister defended the government’s handling of the crisis and reassured workers that their livelihoods would be protected.
“It’s also important that we’ve protected taxpayers from an unacceptable bailout of a private company,” she told the House of Commons.
She then took aim for Labour-controlled regional authorities that she claimed also awarded new contracts to Carillion after the company issued profit warnings.
“This wasn’t just an issue of the Government issuing contracts,” she said.
“Actually, we see that the Labour-run Welsh government issued a contract after the profit warning last July and only last week in the public sector a public sector body announced that Carillion was their preferred bidder.
“Was that the Government? No, it was Labour-run Leeds City Council.”
Corbyn replied that: “Leeds have not signed a contract with Carillion. It’s the government’s responsibility to make sure Carillion is properly managed.
“These corporations need to be shown the door,” the Labour leader added.
“We need our public services provided by public employers, with a have a public service ethos with strong public oversight.
“As the ruins… lie around her, will the prime minister act to address the costly racket of Carillion and other companies?”