Conservative members of the London Assembly have been criticised after they prevented Assembly Members from debating a motion calling for the retention of the 20mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge.
The temporary 20mph speed limit was put in place while roadworks were carried out and is due to be removed by Transport for London.
Conservative AMs walked out of the meeting as part of an ongoing dispute with City Hall’s Labour, LibDem and Green party groups over the sharing out of committee chairmanships. The move meant the meeting was inquorate and had to be abandoned.
The motion to retain the reduced limit was proposed by Green Party AM Jenny Jones.
Jones said its abandonment “is an unfortunate outcome not just for us, but for all cyclists in the city” and claimed the Tory decision to walk out of the meeting “shows complete disregard for the safety of our city’s cyclists.”
Jones added:”Of course we can have the motion tabled for a future meeting, and I hope that there will be a possibility to do this, but this delay could be fatal.”
LibDem group leader Caroline Pidgeon said: “It is shameful that the Conservative Assembly Members have played student politics today and by walking out of the chamber have sabotaged democratic debate.
“Today the London Assembly could have sent out a clear message about the need to ensure that Blackfriars Bridge is made safer for cyclists. Due to the actions of Conservative Assembly Members that key opportunity has been denied. I hope every cyclist who cares about this issue will take note of their actions.”
The motion had the support of the London Cycling Campaign which has said the 20mph speed limit would play an important part in removing safety concerns and helping the Mayor’s ambitions to turn London into a cycling city.
LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said: “We don’t mind losing a fair fight by reasoned argument – that’s part of debate.
But it appears that some members of the London Assembly would rather make political gestures than debate the crucial issue of road danger reduction.”