LONDON'S TRANSPORT commissioner Bob Kiley was sacked this week from his post as London Transport (LT) chairman by transport secretary Stephen Byers amid claims he had abused his position.
Byers claimed he had dismissed Kiley on Tuesday ahead of a key LT board meeting because he had used his position to delay plans to part-privatise London Underground. This, he said, was the opposite of his original brief.
Kiley accused Byers of trying to gag him. 'Mr Byers' action - on the eve of the board meeting - is a transparent attempt to silence me and create a smokescreen keeping vital information from the public and the LT Board, ' he said.
Kiley was given the post by deputy prime minister John Prescott in May to negotiate a contract with preferred bidders (NCE 10 May).
Negotiations failed, so the Department of Transport Local Government & the Regions (DTLR) has taken over. Byers claimed that Kiley had been hindering this process.
'He has, without authority from the board, issued instructions to senior management to halt these negotiations. This is unacceptable, ' said Byers.
He added that he had received a letter signed by most of the London Transport Board saying that London Transport could not function because of this.
As a result Byers sacked Kiley with immediate effect and reappointed Sir Malcolm Bates to the post. Kiley remains commissioner of Transport for London reporting to mayor Ken Livingstone.
He added he had intended to show the Board a recent report raising concerns over the maintenance standards by consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff.