The London Assembly claim to have been ‘misled’ about the delay to the opening of the Elizabeth line.
Crossrail announced at the end of August that the scheduled start of services running through London of December 2018 has been pushed back.
Instead, the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood will open nine months later than expected, in autumn 2019.
However, the London Assembly – a 25-member elected body that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London – has questioned whether or not they were told all the facts by Sadiq Khan.
The London Assembly Transport Committee has been investigating when all of Crossrail, Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London were first aware of the likely delays.
Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly on 6th September that Crossrail hadn’t informed him of the delay until 29th August.
However, TfL knew of likely delays as early as 19th July. The London Assembly therefore believe that the Mayor would have been briefed at the same time, given he is the Chair of TfL.
Furthermore, Crossrail’s own statement to the Assembly says they informed the Mayor of delays on 26th July.
Following the investigation from the London Assembly Transport Committee, in which evidence was gathered from all three parties, “grave discrepancies” were identified with the evidence, leading the Assembly’s members to conclude they have been misled.
To further confirm their suspicions, the Transport Committee have found out a TfL statement was made to the London Stock Exchange on 24th July that made no mention of delays, despite Crossrail informing them of this likelihood, less than a week before.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said: “The evidence we have received shows it is highly likely that the Mayor was informed on or soon after 19 July that there was very likely to be a delay.
“It may have been justified to wait for clearer information before a public announcement. However, it is arguable that maintaining that he was completely uninformed is misleading.”
The Committee has written to the Mayor for further clarification.