Sir Terry Morgan is the latest senior HS2 figure to be summoned to City Hall and face questions on the Crossrail fallout after the mayor of London accused the former chair of “misremembering” whether he had given warnings about delays to the project.
The former Crossrail chair has had to carry the can and resign after it was revealed in late summer of 2018 that the long-awaited rail scheme would be delayed by at least nine months and wouldn’t open until autumn 2019 at the earliest.
The London Assembly transport committee’s request for Morgan to attend a special hearing next week comes on the back of an appearance made by Sadiq Khan just a few days before Christmas when he told assembly members there was no “smoking gun” over the project and denied he was told of a delay at a pivotal meeting on 26 July.
Instead, Khan reaffirmed that he did not know of the delay until shortly before the postponement was officially announced on 31 August. Furthermore, the mayor agreed to release documentation relating to such meetings and said he was told the December opening was still achievable in July.
Next week gives Morgan the first real opportunity to go public since his resignation at the start of December and provide his account of what happened behind closed doors in 2018. In a BBC Radio 4 interview just days before his departure was announced, Morgan claimed that documents were presented to the mayor and Transport for London on 26 July 2018 that said delivery in 2018 was “impossible”.
Following the December meeting, transport committee chair, Caroline Pidgeon, said she believed someone between the two parties at loggerheads was not giving a full account and endeavoured to continue investigating.
She added: “Sir Terry says he informed the Mayor and TfL [about the delay] in July. The mayor suggested he must have ‘misremembered’ events. We will put that suggestion to Sir Terry. Someone between these two parties is not giving a full account and we will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of this.”