An urgent question could be asked in the House of Commons about the inquiry set up by the government last year into the management of the Teesworks site.
The suggestion was made by the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, when the issue was raised in the House this week by the Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove set up the inquiry in May to carry out an independent assurance review into the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s oversight of the South Tees Development Corporation and Teesworks Joint Venture following “serious allegations of corruption, wrongdoing and illegality.”
In the Commons this week the Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, referred to a report in the Financial Times that Teesworks had reported an exceptional year, tripling its profits to £54m.
“Sadly”, he said, “the public will see very little of that hard cash as under the Tees Tory Mayor 90% of shares in the company were handed over to two local businessmen. That means they get £48.6mn and the public gets just £5.4mn. Personally, I think that is scandalous.”
He asked the Speaker whether he had heard of any plans by Gove to come to the House to make a statement about why the inquiry report had been delayed and when it could be expected.
The Speaker replied that he had had no indication from the government that Gove intended to make a statement but did not doubt that Cunningham’s remarks would have been heard on the government bench.
“I am sure that he [Cunningham] will pursue it in other ways”, added the Speaker. “No doubt if nothing is forthcoming it might need an urgent question – that is a possible suggestion.”
Tees Valley Combined Authority has been approached for a response.