Opening Statement & Questions on PPP (Supplementary) [19]

Session date: 
March 27, 2002
Question By: 
Mike Tuffrey
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Mr Mayor, while we support the final stage in the legal proceedings, Lynne Featherstone has made the point very well that public opinion, properly exercised through the ballot box, should ultimately trump the Law Courts and you should be leading Londoners in that. It is regrettable that you won't come out more strongly. We will have to accept for today your comment that Labour candidates will be damaged in the May local elections because of their and their Government's support for this.

I wanted to ask you about the bond issue report, which, I am sure you will be aware, is of particular interest from a Liberal Democrat perspective. We agree that these are the contracts from hell but there has to be an alternative and, unlike the Conservatives who wholesale privatised the whole thing, we have championed the bond issues.

I don't mind Mike asking the Mayor a question, but would he not misrepresent Conservative policy, which is not to privatise the Tube?

The Chair: Mike, if you could just pursue the question about the bond issues?

Mike Tuffrey: Madam Chair, I will return to the question of the bond issues without further dissembling from the Conservatives. It's very pleasing to see that the bond issue has yet again been confirmed as the Bible. My question is, what are the terms on which you have sent this to Tony Blair and what have you actually asked him to do? Have you asked him to talk to his near neighbour, Gordon Brown, about these matters because that is where the log-jam is and that is where the alternative lies? And do you agree that ultimately this issue comes down to whether the Prime Minister will stand up to his Chancellor and drive through a proper solution to this?

Answer

Answer for Opening Statement & Questions on PPP (Supplementary) [19]

Answer for Opening Statement & Questions on PPP (Supplementary) [19]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

All the information has been passed to the Prime Minister's Office and I requested that the Prime Minister gets somebody he totally trusts to look at the contracts. I am aware of the fact that I am at a relative advantage in the sense that Bob Kiley's team, who have sat there and read the contract, report directly to me. The Prime Minister, the Chancellor and Stephen Byers are being briefed by officials and civil servants who have been briefed by Underground officials. None of them on a long-term contract and all of whom will be off to work elsewhere the moment the Underground is transferred to Bob Kiley. None of them have any long-term interest or responsibility to the Underground and I think the advice they are giving is wrong and deliberately misleading to Ministers and civil servants.