March 01, 2019
The transport secretary is under-fire for Brexit contracts and the part-privatisation of probation services.
Chris Grayling At Centre Of Two Political Embarrassments On The Same Day
Chris Grayling is at the centre of two government embarrassments on the very same day.
On Friday morning the government settled a high court case over the Brexit ferry debacle, after reaching an agreement worth up to £33m with Eurotunnel.
The company had been suing the government over how the no-deal Brexit ferry contracts were awarded. In its lawsuit, Eurotunnel said the freight contracts had been handed out in a “secretive” way.
Also today, the National Audit Office released highly critical report on the controversial part-privatisation of probation services undertaken while Grayling was justice secretary.
Despite the double whammy of bad news, Theresa May’s spokesperson said the prime minister had full confidence in the transport secretary.

Seaborne Freight
In December, Grayling gave one no-deal contract to Seaborne Freight, even though the firm had no ships and had never operated a ferry service.
The £13.8m contract eventually collapsed after the company’s main financial backer pulled out.
Eurotunnel sued the government over how the contract was awarded. Today’s settlement agrees a financial payout to the freight operator, who in turn have agreed to improve their terminals, which would improve services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Grayling said payout “secures the government’s additional freight capacity, helping ensure that the NHS has essential medicines in the event of a no deal Brexit”.

Probation privatisation
In 2013, under Grayling, the Ministry of Justice embarked on major reforms of probation services.
Known as Transforming Rehabilitation, the scheme saw the creation of the National Probation Service to deal with high-risk cases, while remaining work was assigned to 21 community rehabilitation companies (CRCs).
The NAO said today the number of offenders returned to prison for breaching their licence conditions after serving short sentences has “skyrocketed”.
Its report said that, between January 2015 and September 2018, the number of offenders recalled to prison for breaching their licence conditions increased by almost half (47%), from 4,240 to 6,240.
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