Not a single government minister contacted Thomas Cook bosses in the six days leading up the company’s collapse, its former chief executive has told MPs.
Peter Fankhauser said government ministers from Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece all made personal contact with him in the lead up to the company going under.
But speaking at parliament’s business committee on Tuesday, he said no ministers from Boris Johnson’s government had reached out.
Asked whether he had spoken to any government ministers before the collapse, Fankhauser said: “No, because we were clearly told in this meeting on the 16th and 17th that the point of contact for us was those officials...”
SNP MP Drew Hendry, who sits on the committee, called the revelation “astonishing”.
The travel agency collapsed on September 23, leaving 9,000 UK staff out of work and 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad.
The government – along with the Civil Aviation Authority – launched the UK’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation to bring people home.
Fankhauser said he was “deeply sorry about this failure and I’m deeply sorry for the distress we caused to millions of customers who booked holidays with us and who were on holidays with us.”
He also apologised to suppliers and Thomas Cook staff who “worked extremely hard”.
However, when asked whether any of the £750,000 bonus he received in 2017 – 30% of which was in shares – would be paid back, Fankhauser remained vague.
He told Labour MP Rachel Reeves: “Honestly chair, I was not thinking about that because I am not the one who is setting my pay and I’m not the one who is deciding my bonus.”
In her closing remarks Reeves – who chairs the committee – told Fankhauser: “You say you’re a reflective man.
“I hope you will go away and reflect on the huge salaries you’ve earned, salaries that probably in all the lives of some of the people who worked for you will never earn in their while careers, and think about what you can do, not just as a token, but in some way to put right the wrong that you have done.”