Sadiq Khan blames Tube strike troubles on "toxic hangover" left from Boris Johnson's industrial relations

Rebecca Smith
Khan said he wouldn't apologise for
Khan said he wouldn't apologise for "trying to be a mayor for all Londoners" (Source: Getty)

Sadiq Khan came out swinging for his first Mayor's Question Time of the year, blaming strike troubles on "a toxic hangover" from Boris Johnson's mayoralty.

The mayor has come under fire from London Assembly Conservative members for breaking his "zero days of strikes" made on his campaign trail.

"What happened last week was the result of a historic dispute which began with Boris Johnson," said Sadiq Khan.

"I am left with a toxic hangover from his mayoralty. Prior to last week's strike, there was a 92 per cent reduction on the last mayor's record, over an average seven month period," he added, while acknowledging last week's strike over staffing levels at stations, which resulted in the majority of Zone 1 stations closing, will change this statistic.

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"What is important is I'm not just sitting on the sidelines like the previous mayor, or smirking from the sidelines like some Assembly members," he said. "I'm working tirelessly to deal with his failed legacy, I've delivered on my promise to review ticket office closures and TfL is acting on the clear recommendations of the London TravelWatch report. I've also sought to improve relationships with the trade unions."

Khan said 11 union disputes had been suspended or resolved in his seventh months in the job.

"Just imagine what would have happened if there was a Tory mayor in the first seven months," he added.

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Conservative Assembly member Keith Prince said: "In your own words, strikes are a failure, so clearly you accept that you're failing. Do you feel you owe Londoners an apology for breaking your promise in February that there would be zero days of strikes?"

The mayor responded: "The reality is when there are strikes there is a failure, which is why you've got to talk to the staff and talk to those who represent the staff; it's not a virility test, or a test of how macho you are by talking tough through the media. What you have to do is resolve differences around the table and I won't apologise for trying to resolve differences around the table."

Talks in the dispute over staffing issues have restarted today at conciliation service Acas.

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