§ Ms Short
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what instructions he has issued to the franchising director on the eligibility to bid for rail franchises of companies that are under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Watts
The Railways Act 1993 requires that the franchising director should not invite any person to tender for franchises unless he is satisfied that they are financially robust, managerially competent and otherwise suitable to be a franchisee. In order to prequalify for franchise competitions, potential bidders are required to notify the franchising director of any factors which might affect his assessment of their suitability to be a franchisee. It is therefore unnecessary for my right hon. Friend to issue any instructions to the franchising director on this subject.