Transport for London has continued to defend an anti-Israeli clause in its contract with Emirates despite Mayor Boris Johnson labelling it “plainly inappropriate” and saying it “was completely wrongly drawn up”.
Earlier today a number of outlets ran a story based on a City Hall press release in which Andrew Dismore claims the clause could place TfL’s suppliers and contractors in breach of US and EU law.
A couple of hours after the story ran, the TfL press office sent the following comment through:
“We have already agreed to remove the text in question from the contract. The intention behind it was always to give Emirates the option to withdraw their sponsorship should we sell the Emirates Air Line to someone else, something which is common in such contracts.
“The clauses as they stood would not have constrained how TfL do business however to avoid any confusion they will be rewritten and we will publish the alternative wording. For the avoidance of doubt, we cannot foresee any circumstances in which we would sell the Emirates Air Line.”
I opted not to run the comment because it isn’t true – here’s what the contract says:
– that clearly states TfL cannot assign the scheme’s assets to a “conflicting person” which DOES limit its freedoms.
Also, it is not “common” to include references to other government’s foreign policies in a change of ownership clause.
The statement also continues to push TfL’s line that all this is a fuss over nothing, that the clause doesn’t mean what it says and that some better wording will somehow make it all OK.
What’s missing from the statement – and all past TfL utterances on this issue – is any admission of wrongdoing or apology for embarrassing London and tarnishing its reputation for tolerance.
TfL has a reality problem. Beyond the odd racist, It’s the only entity which thinks the clause is fine.
So deaf to the views of others is TfL, that the statement fails to reflect its own Chairman’s wholesale and unqualified condemnation of the clause.
Appearing before the Assembly this morning, Boris Johnson was very clear that the clause was wrong and should never have been included in the contract.
Here’s what he told 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.”
“That clause, which I think was completely wrongly drawn up. as soon as it was drawn to my attention we sorted the matter out.”
Does TfL really believe Boris, like journalists who exposed its willingness to sign up to a racist contract in return for an annual payment so small it would scarcely cover the bonuses of its chief officers, is simply confused and needs simpler wording to help him understand?
Why are they so incapable of accepting that they got it wrong and apologising?