PPP (Supplementary) [4]

Session date: 
July 18, 2001
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


You talk about Millbank, but we have a problem with what I call "Kenbank" - the cynical manipulation of information. The last year, in which the availability of trains has dropped by 8%, is roughly the year by which you have delayed the implementation of PPP. I think Londoners need to be aware of that.

Secondly, the selective interpretation of a report which no one in this world has yet seen is also cynical, manipulative, devious, and dishonest with Londoners. I have a press statement in front of me which says that the very report from which you have quoted, which apparently condemns the PPP, has been analysed by management within the Underground and by officials in the DTI, and they find that no such conclusions come out of it. It is a bit like the selectivity with which you have treated -

Graham Tope: That is reassuring, from two objective sources. [Laughter.]

John Biggs: I certainly would not go to the Liberals for objective information. The point is that we are being asked to take on faith from you a report which we have not seen, which you are selectively quoting, which you are sound-biting and twisting as we speak. What confidence can Londoners have that you really have their interests at heart in getting the Tube fixed and working? I get the impression that you would be delighted to spend another year spinning it in the courts, painting yourself as a martyr, and ignoring the real need, which is to get the damn thing moving. And that is a question.

The Chair: Before the Mayor answers, on the allegation about twisting and spinning: by definition, we do not know if we have not seen it. It could be either way, couldn't it?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for PPP (Supplementary) [4]

Answer for PPP (Supplementary) [4]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I have told the Committee that we are publishing Parsons Brinckerhoff this afternoon. People will be able to read it for themselves. Parsons Brinckerhoff are not going to produce a report which would simply be geared to promoting my propaganda or anybody else's. They are a credible international firm - I suspect, not natural supporters of mine - with a reputation to protect. We do not have to wait more than a couple of hours for people to make their own assessment.

As to the question of delay in getting the Underground resolved, this is monstrous. This Government have been in office for over four years. When they announced the PPP, they said that work would start in April 2002. All this delay is not caused by my campaign against it. The Government have carried on between Derek Smith and bidders; they have not yet been able to get to work on site. That is because the system is fatally flawed. Even if the court case goes against London next week and the Government's PPP is endorsed, the Government are telling us it will be next year before the Underground PPP can be completed and passed to us.

I have no management control over this. My campaign has been in the public domain. London Underground's management has not required my permission to undertake any action whatsoever. This Government have failed consistently on their own timetable. They have also failed to honour the pledge they gave to Parliament, that they would not proceed with PPP unless it was a good financial case. As the Deloitte & Touche report will show, that clearly is not the case.