London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of lying, after the PM blamed him for bankrupting Transport for London (TfL).
The quarrel between the Labour mayor and Conservative prime minister came after Khan’s statement earlier in the day condemning the strings attached to the government’s TfL rescue proposal, which Khan said was “ill-advised and draconian”.
According to a statement from the Mayor’s office, the Department of Transport’s proposal included extending the 15-pound ($19.62) congestion charge to the North and South Circular roads in a year’s time, increasing fares by more than the inflation rate, introducing a new council tax precept charge, and removing free travel for under-18s and over-60s.
Khan said the government is punishing Londoners “for doing the right thing to tackle COVID-19” when support is needed.
“I simply cannot accept this Government plan, which would hit Londoners with a triple whammy of higher costs at a time when so many people are already facing hardship,” Khan said.
He urged the ministers to revise their proposal.
On Oct. 1, the London Mayor asked the government for financial support, including, 5.65 billion pounds ($7.39 billion) for TfL over the next 18 months.
According to the Mayor’s office, Khan had “succeeded in putting TfL on a stable financial footing—cleaning up the mess inherited from the previous Mayor [Boris Johnson]”, and that the difficulties TfL is facing is due to falling passenger numbers during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
Speaking to members of Parliament during a Prime Minister’s Questions session on Wednesday, Johnson called his successor incompetent, and said that he “had effectively bankrupted TfL” before the CCP virus pandemic started.
“The bankruptcy of TfL, which was left by the way in robust financial health by the previous mayor,” Johnson said, “is entirely the fault of the current Labour mayor of London with his grossly irresponsible demagogic fare policies, which were never pursued by the previous mayor of London.”
Johnson said “any need to make up that deficit” was entirely Khan’s responsibility, and any changes to TfL are also “entirely his responsibility”.
Khan then replied on Twitter, saying “the PM has lied” to Parliament.
“Before Covid I was fixing his mess at TfL—reducing the deficit by 71% since 2016,” he wrote. “Covid-19 is the sole cause of TfL’s challenges.”
Downing Street declined The Epoch Times’ request for comment.