the DTI sent 2 civil servants to report (the report exists somewhere on the DTI web site) and with the MCA's risk assessment report on the pilot training being favourable (to ABP) the ground was effectively cut away from under ABP - safety was not an issue, although latterly the MAIB thought differently. At the time S Byers was the SoS which will help in understanding the apparent contradictions.
The HPL behaved not unlike the print unions in the 70-80's and took on a cpy who were heavily involved in areas which were beneficial to government policy.
Interestingly, Humber has put its "hat in the ring" for the new container terminal so there are two ABP ports in competition with each other (Southampton and Humber) or ABP think Southampton hasn't a chance. Perhaps the rail link to the key west midlands corridor is easier from Hull?