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Livingstone launches scathing attack Boris Johnson's 'intolerable incompetence' on Tube

Incumbent mayor of London Ken Livingstone has today launched a searing attack on the policies of his chief rival, Conservative candidate Boris Johnson.

Livingstone's latest campaign rhetoric describes Boris Johnson's record on the Tube as "error followed by incompetence".

"He does not even understand, let alone is he able to deal with, the Mayor's responsibility for London Underground," says the campaign statement.

"Boris Johnson condemned the fight against the PPP on the Tube as mere 'ideological warfare'. This was in line with his support for the privatisation of the railways. That Ken Livingstone was right and Boris Johnson was wrong was shown by the £2 billion fiasco of Metronet.

"In the BBC Politics Show on Sunday 20 April Boris Johnson was asked about his plans for the Tube. Insofar as it was possible to make any sense whatever of his replies, most of which were incoherent, he suggested that he will revert to the failed model of the Metronet PPP - as also indicated in his Transport Manifesto.

"He says he will appoint an 'arbiter' to ensure best value from the contracts - presumably the PPP contracts. He seems to be unaware that an arbiter already exists under the terms of the PPP and was completely unable to stop Metronet collapsing. It is the Mayor's task through TfL to get value for money, he can't rely on an arbiter.

"Johnson also claims he will get a no-strike agreement with the RMT - which is as likely as hell freezing over on a voluntary basis and certain to provoke the biggest wave of strikes we have ever seen on the Tube if he tries to impose it by force. It is just a non-starter.

"Boris Johnson has announced no-one who would manage the Tube for London, and indeed in his campaign has engaged in reckless criticism of the leadership of Transport for London.

"In short Boris Johnson has:
- Been proved totally wrong on the PPP for the Tube.
- Appears to want to return to the failed PPP on the Tube - although his position is so unclear even he doesn't seem to know.
- He has no management for running the Tube.

"This is intolerable incompetence, an absurd programme, for the single largest investment programme in London."

In contrast Livingstone claims to offer Londoner's the chance to "continue to move forward as the most successful city in the world, dealing with the big new problems of the 21st century".

Specifically, Livingstone said Transport for London will take over the failed Metronet company, with Tube maintenance brought into the public sector and integrated with running the trains. Large construction projects that can only be carried out by private sector companies will be tendered in individual contracts by TfL. He will reappoint Tim O'Toole as Managing Director of London Underground.

"No issue shows the difference between Ken Livingstone's clear policies for running London, and management to deliver them, and Boris Johnson's incompetence and incoherence more clearly than the future of the Tube," the statement concludes.

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