The Autumn Statement (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
December 17, 2014
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Dare I do this?  Mr Duvall’s questioning established the foundations of a very solid argument against you, which is that regardless of what you achieve in your last year on police numbers, you are creating a legacy.  Regardless of whom the next Mayor is and whether they are Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Monster Raving Loony, Green or UK Independence Party (UKIP), they will find it virtually impossible to sustain that number of police officers.  You are creating ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Well ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  I am asking a question.  You are creating a legacy which is unsustainable.  Val Shawcross then asked you a question about infrastructure.  The thesis on that that I have, which is very much substantiated - and I speak as the Chair of the Budget Committee and as a member of the Finance Commission as well - is that you have sold London short on that.  You essentially have diddlysquat.  You have boasted about the Barking extension.  All you have is permission to borrow money, which will have to be paid back and which you could have borrowed in the first instance anyway.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It sounds to me like Labour is getting ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  I am asking a question.  This is a question [AH1] --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ worried that one of their candidates ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  You have boasted also ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ may inadvertently win the mayoral election ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  Could you get this man to shut up, please?  I am asking a question.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and they will be faced with the chaos of a Labour government.


John Biggs AM:  I am still asking you a question and you are eating into useful time, which --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Go on, then.  Ask a question.


John Biggs AM:  You boast also about Crossrail 2 and you have been given £2 million for a £20 billion project to build up the feasibility case for that.  That is diddlysquat as well.  If we look at the single greatest capital item you seem to want to spend London fare-payers’ money on this year, it is building a tourist bridge in central London.  It is a lovely bridge, but it is not really about the right priorities for London.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for The Autumn Statement (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for The Autumn Statement (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  For God’s sake.


John Biggs AM:  That is a pretty substantial indictment.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Actually most Londoners will see that we are making progress with Crossrail 2 and ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  You have £2 million.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ that we are able now to develop a business case for it.  They will notice.  Most intelligent people, unlike some of the questions I have had from the Labour side ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  £2 million. You wouldn’t talk to your Tory colleagues in that fashion.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ will spot that next year, John, there will be the first extension of the Tube for about 15 years when we begin work on two new stations and a whole new section of the Northern line.  Does anybody remember the previous Labour administration, under which they served slavishly like Russian peasants?  Does anybody remember them extending the Tube?  I do not think they extended the Tube once.  We will begin the extension of the Underground.  We have plans to extend the Bakerloo line.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  —the east London lines --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Sorry, they had eight years to dig another mile of Tube.  Did they dig another mile of Tube?


Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Overground?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, they did not.  Did they dig a mile of tunnel?  They did not.  As usual, it is the Conservatives who are putting in the big infrastructure projects and I am very proud of what we are doing.  Crossrail is on time and on budget.  It is an outstanding achievement.  As I have reminded you, it was on the chopping block in 2010.  We have gone ahead with every one of the Tube upgrades.  The Jubilee line has been delivered and you are seeing huge improvements in capacity on that line with a 30% improvement in capacity.  Each Jubilee line train is now running about 3½ miles faster than it was when I was elected.  Similarly, on the subsurface lines ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  Can we move back to the question, please, Chair?  This is just a lot of drivelling nonsense.  Come on now.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ the signalling is going in and we are investing massively in roads.  A neo-Victorian surge of investment is taking place in transport across this city ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  That returns us to the question.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and you should be proud to be associated, however tangentially with this regime and what it is achieving.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Mr Biggs?


John Biggs AM:  All right.  That does return somewhat to the question.  The massive investment in infrastructure, which was initiated under your previous mayoralty ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Seven years ago?  Yeah, right.


John Biggs AM:  ‑‑ will have to be continued under your successor.  I am delighted that in the last 18 months of your tenure here you have apparently converted yourself to supporting infrastructure investment, but when we ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Come on.  Really?


John Biggs AM:  ‑‑ look at the settlement from the Chancellor, there is very, very little.  If I look at a particular issue in east London, which is where a lot of London’s growth will come from, how much money will be in the Chancellor’s statement for building Thames River crossings?  The reality is there is not a penny, not a single penny, not for feasibility, not for construction, not for amelioration and ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Hang on.  We are going ahead with a new tunnel at Silvertown, which will be ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  ‑‑ not for any aspect of that.  I am still asking the question.  Instead, you are expecting my constituents to pay for it through tolls.  You subsidise the tourists in central London and you expect the poor people in east London to pay for the privilege of crossing the Thames ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We will be going ahead.  As you know, John ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  ‑‑ which you have delayed for them by not doing anything during your tenure.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ we are going ahead not just with a crossing at Silvertown but with ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  It is all fantasy.  It is fantasy.  Absolute fantasy.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ three additional crossings, if you include the second Dartford crossing.  That will be absolutely transformatory for east London and ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  You will be just a blurry swathe of smoke.  You will be gone from London before a single brick is laid or a single hole is dug on any of that.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I may point out to you that the previous Labour Mayor has disappeared in a puff of sulphurous vapour, having left, as I say, not a mile of extra Tube dug, without a single inch of Crossrail having been dug and without the Tube upgrades.  I am delighted to say that future Conservative mayors will be able to cut the ribbon on the extension of the Bakerloo line, on Crossrail 2, on three new bridges and on the extension of the Northern line.  These will be totally astonishing achievements for our city and you should rejoice.  You should rejoice at what is being achieved.


Tom Copley AM:  We will rejoice when you are gone.


John Biggs AM:  I will rejoice --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You will rejoice when I am gone because you have totally failed in six years to ask any sensible questions ‑‑


Jenny Jones AM:  Or hear any answers.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Have you finished, Mr Biggs?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and you are hoping you will get ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  The only thing I rejoice at, Chair ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  -- sensible answers.


John Biggs AM:  I rejoice at his imminent departure, but I despair at his inability to answer questions, Chair.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have answered all your questions ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  No, you have not.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ in laborious detail and I am prepared to continue to answer them