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London Mayor accused of ‘misleading’ public over Crossrail delay

5 October 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan ‘misled’ the public over when he knew about the year-long delay to Crossrail, according to members of the London Assembly Transport Committee.

 

 

The Committee said it had discovered “discrepancies” in the evidence gathered from meetings between the Mayor, Transport for London and Crossrail on 6 September and a Transport Committee meeting on 12 September.

The Transport Committee asserted that Khan told the London Assembly that Crossrail had not informed him of a delay to the opening of Crossrail until 29 August.

The Committee claimed that Transport for London was definitely told of a likely delay on 19 July and it seemed “highly likely” that the Mayor, as chair of TfL, would have been briefed then too.

The Committee called for clarity on when Khan, Crossrail and TfL first knew the launch would be delayed.

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said: “The evidence we have received shows it is highly likely that the Mayor was informed on or soon after 19 July that there was very likely to be a delay.  It may have been justified to wait for clearer information before a public announcement.  However, it is arguable that maintaining that he was completely uninformed is misleading.

“It is also an absurd situation to have the TfL Board publicly discuss a Crossrail paper suggesting the project is on track, as it did on 25 July 2018, before turning off the cameras for the ‘real’ discussion where bad news was shared.

“As Chair of TfL, the Mayor is directly responsible for this practice, which must end. We demand that all Crossrail discussions by the TfL Board and its sub-committees are held in public. Where commercially sensitive items need to be discussed in private, agenda papers and minutes should still be published and these must be kept to a minimum.”

A spokesman for the Mayor said: “The Mayor did not hide his anger and disappointment when Crossrail Ltd announced that the central section of the project wouldn’t be opening until Autumn next year - anger and frustration made worse by the length of the delay and how late in the project it was announced.

“It was only following the Crossrail Board on 29th August that TfL and DfT were informed of the need for a significantly revised schedule and a new opening date for the project. 

“The Mayor has expressed his frustrations directly to the leadership of Crossrail – both privately and during meetings in public.

“The Mayor has now asked Crossrail Ltd and TfL to look into whether the joint sponsors should have been made aware of the revised schedule at an earlier date, and whether the right scrutiny and oversight is in place as the project moves to its final phase. 

“As part of this, The Mayor has asked the TfL Commissioner to arrange for an independent review of Crossrail’s governance, to report next month.”

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