Mayor's Oral Update

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2014
Reference: 
2014/1715
Question By: 
Darren Johnson
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Item 4 is the Mayor’s report, can I ask the Assembly to formally receive the Mayor’s report covering the period 13 February to 5 March 2014.  The Mayor will now provide an oral update of up to five minutes in length on matters occurring since the publication of his report. Once the Mayor has provided the update, Assembly Members may ask supplementary questions specifically about the update. The Labour Group has asked, as part of the oral update, for the Mayor to update the Assembly on air quality in London following the weekend’s events in Paris.  However, there is also a question first on the order paper on the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), therefore I do not want us to stray too far into air quality on the update, we will keep it specific to the update that the Labour Group have asked for.  Thank you.

Answer

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thanks, Darren, yes.  A lot going on in the last month, Members of the Assembly, the Housing Concordat, you will have seen we signed in Le Marché International des Professionnels de L'Immobilier (MIPIM), about 50 of the big developers, big and small developers, probably 60 of them by now, all agreeing that new homes in London will be marketed first to Londoners or at least first equal.

 

A big project at Old Oak Common which everybody will be familiar with, we are blasting ahead with a plan that will involve the regeneration of a 195-acre semi-industrial site at Old Oak Common.  That will unlock 24,000 new homes, 55,000 jobs.  Sir Edward [Lister, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning] is going to be talking to Members of the Assembly about the proposed Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) that we want to set up there.

 

We are releasing a lot of land for new homes, Greater London Authority (GLA) owned sites at Newham Pontoon Dock and Silver Way Town are now being fast-tracked.  That is on top of what we have released since May 2012. A huge amount of GLA land, 670 hectares we took on in 2012, 85% of that is now developed or in the process of development, including: Trenchard House in Soho; Cane Hill in Croydon; Livingston Fields in Dagenham; St Clements and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Tower Hamlets; Catford Greyhound Stadium in Lewisham; andGreenwich Square in Greenwich, contributing about £2.3 billion to the London economy.

 

You will see what we announced the other day about the mini-Hollands, great success, three mini-Hollands in Enfield, Kingston and Waltham Forest. There were runner-up boroughs and they are also going to be getting some money, not the full dollop, not the full prize, however they are going to get some money. Bexley, Ealing, Merton, Richmond and Newham will be taken forward as well.

 

Four hundred schools have signed up to our Team London Ambassadors scheme to get young people volunteering, I am proud to say, therefore things are moving forward there.

 

You have asked about air quality.  Paris experienced some very high concentrations of air pollution and they stopped the traffic, they banned traffic in the centre of Paris and I think the question is basically why did we not do the same?  The answer is they had roughly twice the concentrations that we had in London and we have other better long-term solutions.

 

I am also going to tell the Assembly, because I think this is the right forum to update them, there is a question about this later on, however, I think I should update you right at the outset about the consultation and the discussion that we have had about the use of water cannon in London.  This is not something that has been a very easy decision to take, or a very easy recommendation request for us in City Hall to make of the Home Secretary, because that is where we are.

 

You will remember that the Metropolitan Police Service came to us in the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and said that they thought in the spectrum of crowd control techniques that they had, that there was a gap, and that gap could be filled by the use of water cannon.  They stressed that this would not be used except on the very, very, very rarest of occasions.  They could not envisage water cannon being regularly deployed on the streets of London.  We had extensive discussions.  I think that you will remember, Members, you had the chance to interrogate both officers of the Metropolitan Police Service and indeed myself about this issue in the past.  We have had a consultation.

 

We have indeed conducted a very substantial poll of Londoners, of about 4,200 people, more than 4,200 people, and obviously the polling will be completely transparent. You will be able to look at all the questions that were asked and I am satisfied that there was no push polling, these questions were asked in a fair and impartial way.  There is overwhelming support in London for the police having access to this technique, 68% of those who responded were supportive, across all age groups, across all ethnic groups, and in every borough.

 

I therefore am minded, and indeed I have decided, to write to the Home Secretary this morning setting out my support for the Commissioner’s position. It is now up to the Home Secretary to decide whether to agree with the police request to licence water cannon for use on the United Kingdom (UK) mainland.  That is where we are.  I thought it would be right to put that out at the beginning in case you wanted to come back on that now.

 

Thank you, Darren.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you very much.  On the issue of water cannon, we do have a tabled question at the end of the agenda from Assembly Member McCartney.  Firstly then I will call Assembly Member Duvall to raise a question on the issue of the Paris air pollution measures.

 

Len Duvall AM:  Mr Mayor, it is not about copying Paris, I think we want to avoid the Paris type situation in London.  Were you aware that last Wednesday there were widespread moderate particle concentrations in London.  The PM 2.5 readings reached very high; that is the highest level of UK air quality index, and the PM 10 was still high by the Saturday, by the weekend.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am, yes.

 

Len Duvall AM:  This is the worst PM 10 episode that has affected Londoners in the last two years.  Therefore, in that sense, do you not feel that you should review your long-term actions to consider whether there is an acceleration of certain activities on your part?  Do you not think Londoners are worth that?  How do we avoid a Paris type situation in five years’ time and the continuation of chaotic weather, which is causing many of these problems?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  On the levels of PM 2.5s and PM 10s, as you rightly say, Len, are not unprecedented, although clearly they were extreme last week, and we have done some analysis of what it was all about.  There were, as you say, unusual weather patterns, which slowed the circulation of air across this part of the world, and we have traced the air that was coming over London back, it was coming over northern Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, and typically people say this is all caused by pig farming in the Netherlands and the particles generated by that.  This does not seem to be the case last week.

 

The particles measured by real-time aerosol mass spectrometers in London showed a dominance of nitrate and organic particles consistent with distant traffic emissions that have been chemically aged in the atmosphere and therefore what you had was a lot of traffic-generated smog rising over the most economically busy part of the European mainland and coming our way over London and indeed coming over Paris.  Paris got it worse than us and that was the origin of the episode last week.  As I say, it was bad; it was by no means unprecedented.

 

What we are doing to tackle it, obviously it is difficult to tackle emissions taking place outside this country, what we certainly can do is we can tackle the emissions taking place in London.  You will know that overall in the last six years PM 10s and PM 2.5s have come down 15% and we have had a serious reduction in that form of particulate pollution on the streets of London.  We are making huge progress.  We need to go further and that is why we have a range of measures, a panoply of measures, including the retiring of old taxis, which was never done before, it has been very difficult to do, very much resisted by the taxi trade, however it is absolutely vital that we do it; the cleaning up of the buses, having much cleaner buses on the streets of London; and of course introducing by 2020 the first ULEZ in the centre of the town.

 

We think those long-term measures; that approach, and lots of other stuff like encouraging walking and cycling and other measures to improve low carbon transport, those measures I think are the best way forward for our city.

 

Len Duvall AM:  Mr Mayor, could you answer my question, which was will you review activities to see if there is any further acceleration, particularly whether the issues like the renewal of the bus fleet, could you accelerate that?  Would that make a difference?  Is that a better contribution?  What I am seeking from you is a commitment in light of what is going to happen, because chaotic weather is still going to be with us in future years, it is going to be a pattern that exists.  These incidents have already increased.  Will you review the review of the bus fleet to see if it can be accelerated in any way?  Will you look at the other activities to see if there is merit in bringing forward some of your actions earlier?

 

  It is a yes or no, Mr Mayor.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The answer is that it depends what you are talking about.  Yes, we may accelerate the upgrading of the bus fleet and that is already happening.  The New Bus for London is the cleanest greenest bus in the world, a beautiful British-made machine, which is helping to reduce tailpipe emissions and helping to improve air quality.  What I do not think I can do is accelerate the ULEZ, which I think maybe you are driving at.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  We are coming on to that.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Len wants an answer about what we could and could not do, I think.  On the ULEZ, the difficulty is that you cannot reasonably go further and faster than the technology would allow, and it would not be fair for us ‑‑

 

Len Duvall AM:  The bus fleet, the bus fleet.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ to tell drivers in this city that vehicles they are buying in good faith will be banned from central London.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  We are going to come on to the low emission zone.

 

Len Duvall AM:  About the bus fleet, that is what I was driving at, the Mayor has taken us down another path, he is assuming that I am on about the low emission zone, I am not.  You are only providing 600 new buses, of a bus fleet of something totalling 5,500 double-decker diesels, 2,600 single-deckers.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think you heard my answer on that, I do not wish to be antagonistic towards you, Len, I did say that we are accelerating--

 

Len Duvall AM:  – Can you accelerate – I am only antagonistic because of the way you are answering the question.  All I was asking, Mr Mayor, will you look at that bus fleet?  Will you give a commitment to do it?  Will you look at accelerating cleaning up the buses under your leadership?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am always delighted to hear from the Labour Party; the Labour Party that wanted to keep hold of the old bendy buses and that campaigned to keep those old foul diesel polluting bendy buses.  I am always delighted to hear that they are now evangelists and converts to the New Bus for London.

 

Len Duvall AM:  No Mr Mayor, no Chair. It is not six years ago, we’re talking about the future health of London, on your watch, under your leadership.  Less bluster, less bluster, more action is required.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am disappointed by the aggressive tone.  I am delighted that you want to see more of the New Bus for London ‑‑

 

Len Duvall AM:  I want to see more action from you, Mr Mayor.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ on the streets of our city.  If you are going to continue to shout over me, Len, in this needlessly aggressive way, you can.  All I am telling you is that we are getting on with exactly what you want.  I do not know why you are being so pointlessly aggressive.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Let the Mayor finish.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We are getting on with exactly what you want and we are going to be introducing more of the low-carbon New Bus for London on the streets, which is I think what you are driving at, and I am delighted you now support that measure.

 

Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  This is an interesting debate.  I must say I am very pleased I do not live in Paris, conditions there sound absolutely dreadful.  Do you know, Mr Mayor, if the European Union are planning to fine Paris hundreds of millions of pounds for this breach of air quality?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  From memory there are several other cities in Europe that are also having infraction proceedings against them and I get back to Len’s point, this is something we take very seriously.  There are 4,000 premature deaths in London a year as a result of poor air quality.  That is why I am very proud of what we have done in reducing PM 10s and PM 2.5s by a very considerable amount already and NO2, nitrous oxide, is down 20% since I was elected.  That is something that is a very considerable achievement.  It reflects our drive to modernise our fleet and, as I say, I am pleased that the Labour Party now support it, although they used to support a lot of retrograde policies.

 

Roger Evans AM (Deputy Chairman):  I am pleased to hear you make that point, Mr Mayor, and I only raise it because in debates around here about air quality you would often think that the UK are the only people being fined for this and it is well worth bearing in mind, is it not, that other countries have these problems too?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Since we are on this, there are plenty of other cities in Britain that had problems just as bad as London in the last few days, Aberdeen, Bath, Lincoln and so on, Birmingham had problems.  This was a problem, as I say, caused not exclusively, there was not some micro-climate of particles over London, this was caused by a huge amount of smog coming over from that industrial heartland of Europe and we need to address that issue as well.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  The fact is that London often has as bad air as Paris or worse and Paris has been brave.  I do not completely support the measures, however they have been brave.  When are you going to be brave in London?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not know how long you were an Assembly Member before I got here Jenny, I do not remember you doing anything about age limits for taxis, I do not think you did anything about age limits for taxis; I do not think you brought a new bus on to the streets of London.  I do not think you --

 

Jenny Jones AM:  This is not about me, Mr Mayor, this is about you and the problems we have.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Those are the things that I have done, and, by the way, I do not think that you could fault us for heroism in being the first Mayoralty and the first city to introduce an ULEZ and that is ‑‑

 

Jenny Jones AM:  You should not be talking about this.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ I think what Londoners want to see ‑‑

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you, we are going to come on to that.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and I am delighted to have your support.

 

Andrew Boff AM:  Mr Mayor, do you think the residents of Paris have seen the environmental advantages of having a socialist Mayor?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think it is very sad that the residents of Paris have had that.  I cannot explain the exact meteorological phenomenon that means that Paris has twice the pollution that we do, however, one of the problems they have is that they have many more diesel vehicles in Paris than we do in London, such as the bendy-bus, which the Labour Party love, and it was wholly right to remove those foul and polluting machines and to embark on a programme of having hybrid buses, which are cleaner and greener and have helped us to reduce emissions in London.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you.  I am now going to move on to the issue of water cannon, because I know there are a few Members have signalled to come in on that, and then we will move on to any other issues in the update. 

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Mr Mayor, I am very disappointed to hear that you are proceeding with purchasing the second-hand German water cannon and I have no doubt that the majority of this Assembly will be as well because, as you are aware, we voted 20 to 5 to urge you not to purchase these recently.

 

Can I ask though, did you read the Police and Crime Committee’s report into our evidence-gathering on this issue?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have certainly taken account of ‑‑

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Did you read the report?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I cannot contend I read every jot and tittle of what you --

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Did you ever have it in your hands, Mr Mayor?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have certainly taken account of the consultation and you may be interested to know, Joanne, that in your particular neighbourhood people are I think two-thirds in favour and only 18% against it.

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Mr Mayor, could you answer my specific question.  Did you actually read the Police and Crime Committee’s report?  You gave evidence to that inquiry.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Frankly I --

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Did you read the report?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I did not.

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  All right.  Can I ask, in that report we found that the evidence that had been given by the police was contradictory and in some places contradicted your own evidence too.  For example, you clearly told us that water cannon would not have been used in Tottenham during the riots, you said, “If we were to rerun Tottenham we would not be talking about water cannon”.  However, in the public consultation event the police put up a video saying, “We could use it in Tottenham”.  How did you reconcile that?

 

How did you also reconcile the fact that when you gave evidence to us the three previous cases that the Metropolitan Police Service had said they could have used water cannon, for example against the student protests or the Countryside Alliance march, you said, “I was Mayor at that time and yet I would not have been happy using water cannon”.  How do you reconcile that offering leadership as Mayor of London to that contradictory evidence and against your own view?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  There will be conceivably circumstances in which the use of water cannon might avert considerable damage to private property and indeed might avert loss of life and that is the point that was put to me by the Metropolitan Police Service.  They feel it strongly and --

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  What evidence checking did you do if you did not read our report?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  With great respect to you, Joanne, your report is not the be-all and end-all and my view is that there is a case for doing this and you have to make a judgment on balance and you have to think forward to how Londoners would feel if there had been an incident in which their property, their livelihoods, could have been protected by the speedy deployment of this water cannon and it had not been available.  I think they would feel very, very angry with the representatives here in City Hall who had deprived the police of water cannon when we were specifically asked to equip it.  That is my view.

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Mr Mayor, you are Chair of MOPAC, having oversight of the police, it is a statutory duty.  You are Mayor of London.  You have to show leadership.  We undertook our statutory duty under the policing arrangements and we produced a report according to our statutory duty.  It is your statutory duty under legislation to have regard to that report and to our work when you are taking decisions and you have not.  I think that is disgraceful.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am terribly sorry.  I cannot read every single report that this body produces and you must forgive me for that.

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  You have a statutory duty to have regard to it. This changes the nature of policing.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not wish in any way to deprecate the work that you do.  I know that you produce many excellent reports.  I cannot read all of them and you must forgive me for that.  I have to take account of the evidence that I have before me and I have taken a decision on balance that I think is right for London.

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Without looking at the evidence.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  It is disturbing that you have not listened to this body because we have an accumulated knowledge of policing that far exceeds your own and it strikes me that it was your duty to read that report.  It was also interesting in the way that you phrased your earlier remarks because it looks as if you are suggesting that it is going to be all the Home Secretary’s fault.  The first time that something goes wrong with those water cannons it will be down to you, Mr Mayor.  The first time somebody loses an eye or gets their ribs broken or drowns from inhalation, it will be down to you.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Of course I accept that.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Londoners will not be fobbed off by your saying that it is the Home Secretary’s decision.  This was your decision.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Jenny, I perfectly accept that.  If you are saying you want me to be in the position where I accept full blame and responsibility, of course I accept full blame and responsibility if something goes wrong.  It is a very difficult decision to make.  Most other big cities have it, New York has it, Paris has it, loads of other cities have the potential to use this means of crowd control.  As I have said to Londoners, we have argued this many, many times, the police already have access to baton rounds, to horse charges, they have at their disposal much more violent means of crowd control.  This is an intermediate step that they think could be necessary and they could envisage situations where it might make a difference, or might have made a difference.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  My point is you have not taken an informed point of view because you did not read our report.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Your point is all about whether I should take the blame and that is a point I am fully prepared to accept.  I am more than happy to accept responsibility for this.

 

Tony Arbour AM:  Are you aware, Mr Mayor, that the Police and Crime Committee was not unanimous on this matter.  There were Members present who did not accept ‑ yes, it was me ‑ the content of the report, who believes, like you, that we have a responsibility to all Londoners and if there is a way in which damage can be limited, in which the people of London could be protected.  We are in fact failing in our responsibility by not making provision for that.  For that reason, I was only too happy to support the views that were expressed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to say that there was a place for water cannon in London; that the risks that are involved and the costs that are involved in a single day of rioting, which might be prevented by water cannon, the cost of the provision of the water cannon is vastly less than the cost of the mayhem that might transpire if there were no water cannon, and there was a view that was expressed, which unfortunately is never repeated by the majority of Members of the Police Committee, that there has not been one single incident of a person being injured by water cannon in all the years of experience that the police force in the United Kingdom have had in Northern Ireland.  The single case that was presented was of some gentleman who was especially brought in from Europe to say that he was standing very close to the water cannon and it hurt him.  I have to say, Mr Mayor, that our responsibility to introduce water cannon is not vitiated in any way by citing that single example.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Tony, I am grateful to you for your support.  This is, as I say, a very difficult matter.  Clearly I have taken account of all sorts of submissions in making this decision and it is a balanced argument.  The case that you are citing in fact is a gentleman from Germany who was quite badly injured, if it is the guy I am thinking of, and I had to think about that, I had to think about the potential for somebody suffering the loss of an eye, as he did, and balance that against the risk that is posed anyway by the deployment of baton rounds, which the police have access to, and indeed other methods of crowd control.  It seemed to me that, if the police genuinely believed there was an operational case for the deployment of this intermediate method of crowd control, between normal pushing and shoving and all the rest of it, and baton rounds and horse charges, then I was willing to listen to those arguments and, as I say, I think we would all, if something were to kick off in your constituency, Joanne, or across London, that were to involve many people in loss of their property, destruction to their shops, or whatever it happened to be, and we had not given the police this tool, I think we would regret it and that is why I have written as I have this morning to the Home Secretary.

 

Gareth Bacon AM:  Mr Mayor, I was quite taken by Baroness Jones’ vast knowledge of policing.  Could you tell me, how many Assembly Members around this table used to be warranted police officers?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Warranted police, hang on a moment.

 

Gareth Bacon AM:  It is a round number, Mr Mayor.  I am talking specifically about Assembly Members, politicians.  The answer is none, Mr Mayor.  Therefore how many Assembly Members around this table do you think have had to control a riot?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  How many have had to control a riot?  How many have been involved in trying to instigate a riot?

 

Gareth Bacon AM:  No, that is not my question.  How many Assembly Members have had to control a riot, Mr Mayor?

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Let us not keep having interruptions.  Assembly Member Bacon.

 

Gareth Bacon AM:  Again, Mr Mayor, very consistently the answer is zero.  Was the request for water cannon made by you or was it made by the Metropolitan Police Service?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It was made by them.  I think I said during or immediately after the riots that I did not see a case for an arms build-up between Londoners and the police; I do not generally want to see that.  On the other hand, the police are already issued with a panoply of weapons of all kinds, lethal weapons, and they made the case to me that this was an intermediate method of crowd control that they would value and on the balance I decided to go with them.

 

Gareth Bacon AM:  OK.  No Assembly Members have been police officers, no Assembly Members have had to control a riot, the request for water cannon came from the Metropolitan Police Service and not from your office.  Do you believe then, Mr Mayor, that the police have far more experience of riot control than any politician in this building or anywhere else in this country and therefore their views should be respected?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do.  On the other hand, I have to say that we also have a duty to think about the balance of the type of policing we want to see on the streets of London and it is our job to make sure that we do not endlessly ratchet things up.  That is one of the reasons why I am always hesitant about increasing the deployment, for instance, of Tasers in a general way or allowing the police everywhere and always to carry weapons.  I think we police by consent in London and it is very important that the use of water cannon should be exactly what the police promised, that is very, very rare indeed, if at all.

 

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Mr Mayor, there are huge contradictions I think in your views on this and also in the views of the Metropolitan Police Service in terms of how water cannon will be deployed and I think you are kidding yourself if you think it is not going to be used on the streets of London once the Metropolitan Police Service have access to this.  What happens if the situation arises, the Metropolitan Police Service come to you, they say, say example there are student protests or whatever, and they say, “We want to use water cannon” and you say to them, “No, I do not want it used”.  They go ahead and use it.  Will you let Londoners know that you did not want it used or will you just stand behind the police and accept responsibility and the consequences?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are imagining a hypothetical situation there, which I do not think is very likely to take place.  In the event that the police request to use water cannon, I would have to think very hard about it.  I think it would be very difficult for a Mayor of London to refuse.  They would obviously have to make a--

 

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  The point is, Mr Mayor, they will not request you, they will consult you, they will go ahead and do what they want.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We would be talking about, not a snap decision, however a decision that would have to be taken in quite a short space of time.  What I can do as Mayor is set out what I think are the conditions, the broad set of circumstances in which it would be right to do it.  I have made it clear that I am deeply reluctant to see it used, as I have said, on a regular basis.  I would like to see it hardly ever, if at all, deployed on the streets of London.  I think it should be there as something that people can fall back on and the circumstances would be ‑‑

 

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  You are kidding yourself, they will use it.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ that it is something that the police can fall back on, and the circumstances would be where there is a real present threat to life and limb caused by a situation getting out of control and where the use of water cannon would enable the police to deal with the rioters more effectively.  I think that is a reasonable request for them to make.  They are absolutely convinced in their own minds that it is not something that they would want to deploy regularly, however they have to think about all the options they have, they look at how riots are controlled in other cities, they look at what happened in 2011, and they think there is a case.  I am not minded to disagree.

 

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Thank you.

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Can I just put some information on record?  Mr Mayor, you keep talking about the riots and we know, because we had the experts tell us on the Panel, that water cannons are useless with fast-moving events.  That is what our riots were about.  Criminals on our street causing mayhem and the police were not prepared.  They would not have been able to use water cannon.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I agree with you about that.

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Therefore we are agreeing on that.  I wish you would stop saying that because that was the sort of thinking behind the survey, then you tilted the survey to give you this result.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I do not think so.

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Let me tell you, I have just looked at the results of your survey, you did not tell us that 60% agree that the Metropolitan Police Service has shown itself capable of responding well to serious disorder in London, therefore 60% of Londoners are happy with what the police are doing now.  I think, given where the Metropolitan Police Service is at the moment, to get 60% of support from Londoners is fabulous.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Jennette.  That is the spirit.

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Let me just say, only 52%, as I have it here, said that they supported water cannon.  Let me tell you who you will be using water cannon against, you will be using water cannon against your own supporters if the Countryside Alliance ever march again because, why I say this, and I do not need to be a police officer, Gareth, because I can listen to advice when I get it, that is the only type of event that you would be able to use water cannon in this city.  Therefore you have agreed that your supporters and the rest of your grouping can stay away from London because if they come you are going to put water cannons on them.  Is that really what you are going to do?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, of course not, and I would just point out that 63% of constituents in your neighbourhood, in your constituency, Jennette, are in favour of it, only 20% are against, no one ‑‑

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Flawed survey.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ wants to see this routinely deployed on the streets of London, least of all me, and I am going to repeat myself, this is something that the police think will be a valuable tool in their methods of crowd control, it is overwhelmingly ‑‑ I was surprised.  I have to tell you, because we did a survey after the riots in 2011 about water cannon and it was a very strong majority then were in favour of it and I thought that majority would have declined, it has not really, people are still very keen for the police, not to use it, Jennette, however to have the ability to use it should the occasion arise.

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  We are talking about the Metropolitan Police Service.

 

Richard Tracey AM:  Mr Mayor, I wanted to follow up what you said about the Mini Holland cycle support in the outer London boroughs.  As you said, two north London boroughs and one south London borough won the top prizes, as it were, however there are the five others, one of which is part of my constituency, Merton.  All of those others, as I understand it, would like to know pretty soon what they are going to get, how much they are going to get, therefore can you tell us a bit more this morning and will the announcement be made before the local government purdah period kicks in?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, it will not be made then.  I want to stress, the three bids that we had that were successful were very good indeed and we were capable of proceeding with them immediately.  The other ones need more work and we will need to work with the boroughs concerned to be absolutely convinced that the funding that we are giving is really going to be used in an optimal way.  However that does not mean we are not going to do it.  We will go ahead with funding for those other mini-mini Hollands, however I cannot pledge now that we are going to get it done before the purdah period.

 

Richard Tracey AM:  Thank you.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you very much.  That concludes questions on the update.  Assembly Member Duvall?

 

Len Duvall AM:  A point of order.  During the Mayor’s session when he talked about water cannon, MOPAC have released the issues of consultation.  If I heard the Mayor rightly, you would have thought the vast majority of responses to MOPAC were supportive of the use of water cannon.  This is not the case.  According to MOPAC, of these, the vast majority raised concerns while some were supportive.  It is not the way that the Mayor mentioned it when he spoke.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you for that.  We have still got the tabled ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Am I allowed to respond to that?

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  I am going to propose a way forward.  We do still have a tabled question on the Order Paper, therefore if the Labour Group are content to allow some time for that at the end we can revisit this and can I ask that the MOPAC statement be circulated around the Chamber to all Members so that we can be fully informed of that when we come back to the issue at the end.