Former Crossrail chair Sir Terry Morgan has accused Transport for London (TfL) of engaging in a process of manipulation over whether the huge project would be delayed, including editing his briefing notes to mayor Sadiq Khan.
Appearing before the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, Sir Terry said weekly briefing notes to Mr Khan went through TfL, which often edited them. He cited one example of a briefing note in June last year when the transport body took out a key paragraph that pointed to problems with the project.
Sir Terry said he had learned that the ‘track changes’ function of the document would show who had made specific edits.
Although Sir Terry, who was forced to resign late last year, said that he no longer had access to his notes, committee chair Caroline Pidgeon said it would seek to obtain the documents.
Sir Terry also alleged that a TfL official, whom he declined to name, had given him a paper with the line to take at the July 2018 TfL board meeting, ensuring that he did not state publicly that the project would be delayed.
He also claimed that TfL and City Hall officials engaged in an ‘offline’ discussion between late July and late August last year, in which they did not use the official email system to plan a communications strategy for announcing that the central section of the project would not open in December 2018.
Appearing before the committee after Sir Terry, the deputy mayor for transport, Heidi Alexander, declined to deny directly that he had told her and Mr Khan at a meeting in July 2018 that that opening date was ‘not feasible’.
She said that Sir Terry ‘certainly hadn’t taken a decision to rule out a December opening’ at the time of that meeting, pointing out that this would have required Crossrail to issue a formal adverse notice immediately, which it did not do until the end of August.
Sir Terry had previously explained that Crossrail Ltd had not issued an adverse event notice in July because it did not have full costings for the delay.