Trams fiasco compared with Holocaust by ex-transport chief

Former Lothian Buses boss Neil Renilson was told he was no longer fit to give evidence at the inquiry.
Former Lothian Buses boss Neil Renilson was told he was no longer fit to give evidence at the inquiry.
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The former boss of Lothian Buses has stunned the tram inquiry after saying he adopted a strategy inspired by Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler to ease his concerns over the project.

Neil Renilson was yesterday appearing before Lord Hardie, who is chairing the inquiry.

Earlier in the day the inquiry heard Mr Renilson – under whose leadership Lothian Buses won several awards – explained he had rationalised his concerns over the project by adopting what he described as “the Schindler strategy”.

Oskar Schindler is known for his efforts to save more than 1,000 Jews from being sent to the gas chambers by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Mr Renilson, who started giving evidence in the morning, was due to continue after lunch, but upon resuming proceedings Lord Hardie announced he was “no longer fit” to continue and would instead do so at a future date.

Before lunch, counsel to the inquiry Jonathan Lake QC had asked Mr Renilson for his thoughts on the project’s final business case, which was approved by councillors in December 2007.

Mr Renilson told the inquiry the prospect of £500 million of government money being spent on the trams did not bother him at first.

However, he said that as time progressed he “started to have more qualms”.

“I rationalised it with myself and allowed myself to sleep at night by adopting the Schindler strategy,” he said.

“I could have done a Trudi Craggs or Rebecca Andrew – stood up, made my point and been moved – because that was inconvenient, not wanted – don’t want to hear that, out you go.

“I didn’t wish to be excluded. I thought I could do a lot more good by staying there and mitigating the effects as best I could …”