The pressure on Byers was too much, and he resigned on to be replaced by Alastair Darling.
The British Office for National Statistics insisted that the placement of Network Rail in the private sector was correct.
Byers later admitted that he had not been truthful.
While at this post, Byers drew attention to himself when he said 8 times 7 was 54 in a BBC interview promoting a Government numeracy drive.
He joined the Cabinet in July 1998, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and became a Member of the Privy Council.
Later on, however, Sixsmith stated that he had not agreed to go, but rather that Byers had insisted on the head of news' departure as his price to pay for losing Moore.
In May it was confirmed by the Department that Byers had announced Sixsmith's resignation prematurely, though the Government said that this was due to a misunderstanding, and he had done nothing wrong.An instance of this is when Byers briefed journalists in 1996 saying that the party might sever its links with the trade unions.Byers was swiftly appointed to Shadow ministerial posts and became the Minister for School Standards with the title of Minister of State at the Department of Education and Employment following the victorious 1997 general election.The first source of controversy in the Railtrack incident was the decision, taken at short notice with disregard for the regulator Tom Winsor, and implemented over a weekend, to ask the High Court to put the privatised railway infrastructure company Railtrack into railway administration, on 7 October 2001.This ultimately led to the creation of Network Rail, which effectively renationalised Britain's railway infrastructure company.Blair gave him a job as soon as he became the Leader of the Opposition, placing Byers in the Whips Office.