Boris Johnson has branded would-be successor Sadiq Khan “a tool” of the Tube unions and claimed the Labour hopeful “isn’t capable of making the tough decisions” needed by Londoners.
Johnson has now responded to those claims by saying Mr Khan’s failure to condemn the threatened strikes “is entirely motivated by the self-interest of union barons who don’t give a stuff about Londoners or indeed their own membership.”
The outgoing Mayor told this site: “There’s massive support amongst Londoners for the night tube, a 24 hour service for a modern, aspirant, growing population. Mr Khan and his union backers clearly don’t want it. They are stuck in the past.”
Highlighting union backing for Khan’s mayoral bid, Johnson said: “Mr Khan is all over the place. He spends most days pretending to run away from the ASLEF funded Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party, whilst simultaneously paying homage to his union backers.
“He needs to condemn this pointless strike now. And if he won’t, he needs to explain why he supports a strike called without the backing of union members, a strike called even after TfL guaranteed the preservation of existing work life balance arrangements for staff.”
In his first term the Mayor was forced to drop a manifesto commitment to agree a no-strike deal with Tube unions and later reneged on a vow to keep ticket offices open as the business case for retaining them fell apart in light of dwindling ticket sales.
However, seeking to contrast his own record with Mr Khan’s union links, Mr Johnson said: “Being Mayor is about making tough choices – closing ticket offices, modernising our tube network, massively cutting delays, delivering upgrades, automation, and new signalling.
“Today the tube carries 25% more passengers than it did when I was elected Mayor. That investment in transport will be put in peril if Sadiq Khan becomes Mayor. He is a tool of ASLEF. He emanates from the bowels of the unions.
“In failing to condemn this appalling call for strikes, he proves he isn’t capable of making the tough decisions needed as Mayor to grow our city’s infrastructure as our population continues to boom.”