Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy has been asked to explain how controversial clauses furthering the UAE’s boycott of Israel came to be included in a contract between TfL and Emirates airline.
As previously reported, the UAE oweed airline’s agreement to sponsor the Thames cable car includes a clause allowing it to withdraw from the deal should TfL sell or assign the scheme to a “conflicting person”
The break clause went further than usual, extending the definition of a “conflicting person” to include “any person who is a national of, or who is registered, incorporated, established or whose principal place of business is in a country with which the United Arab Emirates does not at the date of this Contract or at any relevant point during the Term maintain diplomatic relations;”
The effect of the clause was to limit TfL’s commercial options by making the contract subservient to the foreign policy of an overseas Government.
It would prevent TfL from selling all or part of the cable car to an Israeli national or business or financing the scheme through Israeli-based banks should they require its assets be put up as security.
TfL bosses initially sought to defend the clause, however when he became aware of it Mayor Boris Johnson ordered them to renegotiate the contract. City Hall insiders said the Mayor was “furious” at TfL’s gaffe.
Appearing before the London Assembly on Thursday, the Mayor criticised the clause, labelling it “plainly inappropriate” and saying it had been “completely wrongly drawn up”.
Mr Johnson told Labour London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore: “I don’t believe in allowing any foreign policy considerations to intrude into the governance of London and that clause was plainly inappropriate and it’s been taken out.”
Mr Dismore has now written to Sir Peter asking him to confirm how the clause came to be included in the contract and to publish any legal advice TfL received about it.
Sir Peter has also been asked to confirm what steps he’s taken “to hold to account those responsible for this fiasco” and to outline what action he’s taken to ensure “there is no repetition”.
Asked to comment on Mr Dismore’s letter, a TfL spokesperson said Sir Peter would respond and that its past statement “still stands”.
Andrew Dismore’s letter to Sir Peter Hendy:
RE: Emirates cable car sponsorship contract
As you know, the Mayor has ordered the Israel boycott clause to be removed from this contract the Mayor rightly considering that the “clause was plainly inappropriate” and “was completely wrongly drawn up”.
I see from the evidence of Howard Carter to the Oversight Committee on 18/7, that the “Emirates want to have a discussion about whether something else replaces it”.
Could you please tell me what is being done to satisfy this request, and what the alternative wording is to be? When will you publish the reworded contract?
Could you also please tell me what is being done to review all other TfL contracts, to see if a similar boycott wording has “slipped through”?
Can you also explain how the original boycott clauses came to be included in the contract?
What legal advice was obtained on the contract and its implications before it was signed?
Was advice obtained from external lawyers or internal legal officers only?
Were the terms of the boycott clause brought to the attention of TfL before the contact was signed? If not why not?
Will you publish the legal advice you obtained on the contract? If not why not? What action have you taken to hold to account those responsible for this fiasco? What steps have you taken to ensure there is no repetition of these serious errors?
I look forward to hearing from you.
London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden