Neil Garratt's City Hall Diary - TfL secure, and the Mayor's unlawful order.





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It’s back to work with a vengeance over the last week, with the TfL funding deal finally agreed, a dynamite independent report panning the Mayor’s unlawful behaviour, and the Mayor’s public statements on the cost of living which…aren’t what they seem.
First, I’d just like to thank all the police officers who worked the bank holiday weekend to keep people safe at Notting Hill Carnival. I was fortunate to have a behind-the-scenes tour of the enormous policing operation from the HQ command centre to the individual officers on the ground.
I met a lot of individuals working very hard at an often thankless task to allow a huge street party and carnival to go ahead, as well as the thousands of good-natured revellers with no interest in causing trouble. It’s always the worst elements that make the news, but having spent hours there myself, I have to say that I saw none of the violence and disorder that dominated the media.

Monday Afternoon at Notting Hill Carnival, the London School of Samba float.
Monday Afternoon at Notting Hill Carnival, the London School of Samba float.
TfL funding deal
The biggest news of the last week was TfL finally agreeing a long term deal with the government. My colleague Nick Rogers, the Conservative Assembly Transport Spokesman, had an excellent letter published in City AM with the details.
The short version is that the government has already given TfL £5 billion during the pandemic to keep the transport system going, and this deal is another £3.6 billion which should secure London’s transport system long term. It shows that the government hasn’t abandoned London, as the Mayor would have you believe. The deal also specifies that ULEZ expansion is the Mayor’s idea and, if he goes ahead, none of the bailout money can be used for that.
But the negotiations have been difficult because the Mayor saw an opportunity to get the government to bail him out of every mistake and difficult decision. For example, he was happy to take the credit for freezing TfL fares from 2016-2019, but this cost TfL around a billion pounds in lost revenue. The Mayor wanted to take the credit but pass on the bill.
My hope is that this will mean a more sensible transport debate in City Hall. For more than a year, every question that came up the Mayor would blame the government and say he’d love to help but can’t do anything until TfL has a long term deal.
The ongoing problem is that passenger numbers are down by about a quarter, so a large chunk of the money that used to fund London’s buses, Tube, and Trams has gone and so far it hasn’t come back. It’s the same story on the mainline railway, as I discussed with Southern/Thameslink last week.
No one wants to cut services, so if the demand never returns to pre-pandemic level there could be some difficult decisions lying ahead. Even more difficult if the Mayor refuses to discuss sensibly.
Mayor’s unlawful request to Met Commissioner
The independent review of the way Dame Cressida Dick was sacked as Met Police Commissioner came out last week with a damning verdict on the Mayor’s behaviour. The report is available online, but the two shocking conclusions were
  1. The Mayor ordered the Commissioner to unlawfully fire 14 police officers. She didn’t have that power, as a lawyer the Mayor knew that, but he demanded it anyway.
  2. Among those 14 officers were some who had already been investigated and were found to have “no case to answer”, their name cleared of wrongdoing. The Mayor wanted them fired anyway.
This was not legal or just and would have cost taxpayers a fortune in legal fees and compensation. For a Mayor who always complains about the lack of money, he didn’t seem to care that dismissing all those officers unlawfully would end up costing millions of your money.
The Commissioner refused to carry out the Mayor’s unlawful orders so the Mayor to forced her to resign.
I see this sorry saga shining the spotlight on the way the Mayor so often behaves: he wanted a headline to show he was doing something, he didn’t mind whether it was the right thing or what it would cost.
Mayor’s Cost of Living Charge
The rising cost of fuel, and everything else, is a real worry, I’m pleased the new Prime Minister Liz Truss is promising real action to halt the rise. The Mayor has also been demanding action from the government, but I have been questioning the Mayor’s own actions.
As revealed in the news yesterday, the Mayor has “spent more on beach parties than helping Londoners who can’t afford to eat”. My question is, if he really wants to do something, instead of moaning about the government he should scrap his planned £12.50 ULEZ charge on older vehicles, which is going to hit people on low incomes with old cars especially hard.
You might remember the stunning answer I got when I asked about this in June - Labour said people should just buy a new car because it’s only £3k.
Labour's ULEZ "Let Them Eat Cake!" moment at City Hall
Labour's ULEZ "Let Them Eat Cake!" moment at City Hall
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Kind regards,
Neil Garratt AM
London Assembly Member for Croydon & Sutton
City Hall, Kamal Chunchie Way, London, E16 1ZE
Independent review on departure of Metropolitan Police Commissioner published - GOV.UK
City bosses rejoice as TfL funding deal announced
Sadiq Khan has 'spent more on beach parties than helping Londoners who can't afford to eat' claim Tories - MyLondon
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Neil Garratt AM

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City Hall, Kamal Chunchie Way, London, E16 1ZE