The company that manufactures the London buses that Boris Johnson commissioned in his time as London mayor is poised for collapse, with the loss of around 1,400 jobs.
Wrightbus, one of Northern Ireland’s biggest employers, is on the brink of going into administration as talks failed with several potential buyers.
The company was famously awarded the contract for Boris Johnson’s New Routemaster bus, whose costs quickly escalated to £354,000 per bus, plus a conductor’s salary.
The eyecatching policy drew on nostalgia for London’s older hop-on-hop-off buses and immediately were nicknamed the ‘Boris bus’.
But the collapse will raise questions for Boris Johnson who, as prime minister, had assured MPs that “we will do everything we can to ensure the future of that great UK company”.
The troubled bus manufacturer has been seeking buyers for several weeks.
Among the interested buyers was local transport entrepreneur Darren Donnelly, Chinese industrial group Weichai, and the son of Brexiteer CEO of JCB, Lord Bamford.
The likely collapse of Wrightbus comes within hours of the closure of holiday company Thomas Cook, which had requested a £250million rescue package that the government also turned down.
After 22,000 Thomas Cook jobs have been lost it now looks likely that another 1,400 redundancies will be made through the wrightbus collapse.