Mayor's Oral Report (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
June 17, 2015
Question By: 
Stephen Knight
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Stephen Knight AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  In terms of the debate on 9 June on air quality in the House of Commons, a debate at which I noticed you were not present and I am sure you had good reasons why you could not be there ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am afraid I was unable to be there, Stephen.  I had pressing engagements elsewhere, but one of the things I have noticed about ‑‑

Stephen Knight AM:  I believe you were giving an LBC prerecord interview and so it cannot have been that pressing.  Anyway, the point I wanted to ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  It was very important.

Stephen Knight AM:  A prerecording by its nature can be done anytime, can it not, Mr Mayor? 

The question I want to put to you, Mr Mayor, is that the man whom you want to succeed you as Mayor of London, I believe, Zac Goldsmith MP [MP for Richmond Park], said in that debate that he would like to see the introduction and the establishment of the ULEZ brought forward.  Do you agree with him and, if not, why not?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Mayor's Oral Report (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Mayor's Oral Report (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  A couple of points there, Stephen.  The first is that the Assembly will have to forgive me if I do not attend every single debate that takes place in the House of Commons or in Westminster Hall about matters pertaining to London.  Anybody who goes there a lot - as Kit [Kit Malthouse AM MP], Victoria [Victoria Borwick AM MP] and James [James Cleverly AM MP] now do - will discover how absolutely extraordinary it is how much Westminster talks about the things that we do in City Hall.  I am afraid it would be impossible to keep up with all the debates that are about housing in London or crime in London or all the other subjects that are really London-related.  It is absolutely phenomenal.  It is a complete eye-opener for me, not having been there for seven years.

On your point about Zac Goldsmith - the honourable member for Richmond, I should say - first of all, I would not want to blight anybody’s candidacy for Mayor by offering my endorsement!  There is Stephen Greenhalgh [Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime]  and Andrew Boff [Andrew Boff AM].  There is Ivan Massow . There are other strong runners in this field and it will be a very strong field.

Stephen Knight AM:  Do you agree with him, Mr Mayor?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  It is quite interesting what he said.  He said there is a strong case for bringing forward the ULEZ to 2018.  Respectfully, I would have to say that there may be such a strong case; there is an even stronger case for not doing so.  Zac is ‑‑

Stephen Knight AM:  You disagree with him?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I will tell you why.  You say, “If not, why not?”  I will tell you why not.  The reason is that for compliance with the ULEZ, at the moment we estimate that for London motorists, Transport for London (TfL) and everybody to get their vehicles ready - and we are talking about loads of people who are driving vehicles that would not be compliant and who will have to change their vehicles - the costs are already expected to be in the region of £1 billion, including £400 million for the costs to TfL.

Stephen Knight AM:  Do you think Mr Goldsmith does not know that?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  In order to bring it forward ‑‑

Stephen Knight AM:  Does he not care?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ the cost to Londoners, which I am sure you would not want to impose, would be £1.7 billion.  I do not think that is a sensible way to proceed.  We have the balance right.

Stephen Knight AM:  Mr Goldsmith is wrong, is he?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  If it is really your contention that we should inflict another £700 million worth of economic cost as a price of bringing forward the ULEZ, it is a mistake and I do not support it.

Stephen Knight AM:  It is a mistake, OK.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.