Assembly members in City Hall say they are giving the mayor of London a “final chance to tell the truth” and come clean over what he knew about the delay to Crossrail.
It’s the first time the London Assembly transport committee has used its powers to summon Sadiq Khan and comes after what it says are conflicting statements from the mayor and the chairman of Crossrail, Sir Terry Morgan, about who knew what and when regarding the delayed launch of the network.
An Extraordinary meeting of the transport committee meeting has therefore been called for 21 December in which Morgan and Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown will also be invited to provide evidence and documentation on the long running saga.
It’s been a really tricky time for those involved with Morgan even appearing on BBC Radio 4 over the weekend to concede that he thought he would be relieved of his roles as chair of HS2 and Crossrail imminently.
Various questions have been raised about delays to the major rail project and when these were first aired with Khan. Morgan claims that Crossrail highlighted the need to delay completion from 2018 to 2019 a month before it was publicly revealed on 31 August. The Crossrail chair has said that ongoing discussions about the project’s timetable were “unfortunate” and that he hoped that documents would set the record straight soon.
"The mayor must come clean about when he knew about the Crossrail delay. It is essential for the sake of public trust and London democracy."
The announcement at the end of summer included a statement by the former Crossrail chief executive Simon Wright in which he said the organisation needed “further time to complete the testing of the new railway” to ensure a “safe and reliable railway” is delivered. This would mean the multi-billion pound project would not open as scheduled this month, with expectant commuters in the capital having to wait until autumn next year.
This has led to the London Assembly transport committee now inviting the three-strong panel to City Hall with its chair Caroline Pidgeon saying how “bitterly disappointed” she was to resort to such measures but believed action was necessary.
She added: “The Transport Committee and the public have put their trust in the mayor that there will be transparency during his administration and he has a duty to make sure this is the case. However, in recent weeks and months it has become increasingly clear that when it comes to the Crossrail project he is doing the opposite. The mayor must come clean about when he knew about the Crossrail delay. It is essential for the sake of public trust and London democracy. The committee has used its power to summons the mayor of London as chair of TfL and key documents in order to give him a final chance to tell the truth and clear up this sorry mess."