HS2

09.11.18

Khan denies ‘deliberately misleading’ London Assembly over Crossrail delay

The London mayor has responded defending himself from claims that he and London transport bosses “misled” the London Assembly Transport Committee who “identified grave discrepancies” in evidence given to its investigation.

Sadiq Khan said in a letter to the assembly that he met with them on 6 September to explain “in some detail” the events that led to Crossrail’s delay and that “schedule pressures” had been repeatedly discussed earlier in the year.

But the committee dismissed his claims and said that TfL and the mayor “apparently did nothing about” prior knowledge of the delays, concluding that they were “deliberately misleading” in making public statements about the project being on course.

The committee wrote to Khan last month after finding “grave discrepancies” in evidence given to its investigation into who knew what and when about the late-running of the £15bn project which delayed its launch date by nine months until at least next autumn.

In the mayor’s response, he said he was “deeply angered and disappointed” at the delay to the opening of the Elizabeth Line and that Crossrail had been transparent throughout 2018 on there being “significant growing cost and schedule pressures.”

But Khan said he did not agree that the information provided to the assembly was “partial or contradictory” and “nor did I claim I was ‘completely uniformed’.”

The committee says that it was “highly likely” that the mayor, as chair of TfL, was informed on or soon after the 19 July meeting with TfL that there would likely be a delay to Crossrail.

It wasn’t informed of the delay until the 29 August, but Khan said that it was Crossrail’s responsibility to decide when the project schedule was no longer achievable, which they did not do until a meeting on 29 August.

The London Assembly Transport Committee said the mayor had still not provided all the information it had requested, such as more on the revenue impact of the delay, and its chair, Caroline Pidgeon MBE, said: “Once again, with this response from the mayor, we are left wanting.

“Simply accepting Crossrail’s assurances about the launch date seems to show incompetence, or at the very least, disinterest.

“One cheering note in the mayor’s response is a victory for our probing - we have demanded and received a promise of more transparency.”

Speaking to RTM last month, Pidgeon said that if the claims of Khan misleading Londoners were true, then he should “absolutely” face a Financial Conduct Authority investigation.

Top image: Kirsty O'Connor

 

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