NORTH-EAST politicians have joined calls for a review into a decision not to award a £1.5bn contract to a North-East train builder, describing it as a "slap in the face” and “kick in the teeth”.

Last week, The Northern Echo revealed Transport for London (TfL) knew Siemens intended to build new trains to serve the London Underground's Piccadilly line in Austria almost a year before they awarded the contract.

The Northern Echo:

A joint bid between Newton Aycliffe-based Hitachi and Bombardier lost out in the bidding process, leading to claims that TfL had "undermined their commitment" to UK manufacturing and Siemens had"pulled the wool" over their eyes.

Siemens vowed to invest in a new factory in Goole, East Yorkshire, as part of the deal, but bosses admitted to the Echo last week they face "quite tight" deadlines as to whether the factory will be open in time to construct the trains, which are expected to enter operation in 2024.

Alex Cunningham, Stockton North MP, said the latest revelations "beggared belief", whilst Redcar MP Anna Turley called for a review into the decision.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Cunningham said: “If true, it beggars belief that Transport for London were fully aware that their new trains would be built abroad – yet still awarded the contract to an overseas company.

“Hitachi met with MPs just last week to talk about the challenges they were facing and how they were working with their supply chain to help secure contracts for the Newton Aycliffe plant to help sustain the thousand jobs there and many more in the supply chain.

“So for TfL to simply roll over and accept foreign built trains could have been built in the UK is quite a slap in the face for the North East.”

The Northern Echo:

Ms Turley said: “This latest news is another kick in the teeth for North East manufacturing and begs the question why Transport for London continued to favour the Siemens bid when it was well aware that two thirds of the trains would not even be built in the UK.

“TfL and the government must look again at this.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: "For as long as we are a member of the EU we'll continue to be subject to strict public procurement rules.

"Only by leaving the EU can we put British workers and British manufacturing first. If Remain MPs have their way, the blame lies entirely with them if we see yet another British contract disappear off abroad."

The Northern Echo:

Last week, Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson described the revelations as "outrageous".

A TfL spokesperson said they would "maximise" the number of trains built in the UK.