Sadiq Khan tells assembly ‘no smoking gun’ over Crossrail delays accusing former chairman of ‘misremembering’ events
Sadiq Khan has accused the former Crossrail chairman of “misremembering” events and further denied being told of the project’s delays earlier than August.
Earlier this month former Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said he was in “absolutely no doubt” that the mayor of London was told on 26 July that it was no longer feasible to deliver the Elizabeth Line in 2018.
The line, which will stretch from Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood in the east, was due to open on 9 December but was pushed back to next year due to issues with signalling testing.
The mayor has maintained that he was not told there would need to be revised opening date for the project until two days before the announcement on 31 August.
Khan, appearing in front of the London Assembly today, said Morgan was “misremembering” events and that there was no “smoking gun” over the projects delay.
He said: “Either the previous chair is misremembering that meeting or for other reasons he’s decided not to remember what was told.”
Morgan is set to be grilled in January by the assembly, which vowed to “stop at nothing to get to the bottom of this.”
The Crossrail project ran into further difficulty last week when it was announced that the railway could need up to £2bn in funding to stay afloat. The project’s delay will cost TfL £600m in lost revenue over the next five years alone .
The squabble between Transport for London (TfL), which Khan chairs, and Crossrail came to a head this summer when the London Assembly accused the mayor of "misleading" the public about what he knew about the delay.
Speaking after today’s meeting, the assembly’s transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon said: “It is very frustrating that despite a long meeting, with summonsed documents, the Mayor and the TfL commissioner speaking at length, we are still far from understanding who knew what and when.
“What we have seen today is Sadiq Khan and Mike Brown sticking to their guns.”
Khan and Brown were adamant that up until August they information they received indicated the December 2018 would be met.
But Pidgeon said former Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan’s assertions he told the pair in July meant that someone was not giving a full account of events.
She added: “We still stop at nothing to get to the bottom of this. Londoners have the right to trust the people making decisions on their behalf and with their money.”