London Mayor Sadiq Khan is currently fighting a fact-checking website which projected that he has “bankrupted” Transport for London (TfL) through “out-of-control” waste, and demand that the information against him be taken down.
Mr Khan alleged that the website was masquerading as a fact-checking site as it is not. He, however, accused the website publishers of promoting fake news. Although the Transport for London Bailout Facts site doesn’t show Conservative branding anywhere, it describes itself as being published on behalf of Tory mayor candidate Shaun Bailey.
The projected fact-checking website slammed Mr Khan’s system of management of TfL as it moves toward a second £1.8bn bail-out from the government, hinting that the transport organization has wasted £9.56bn since Mr Khan became mayor in 2016 till date.
According to the site, the waste includes what was allegedly spent on pension overpayments, debt interest and lost revenue. And it claims losses in fares during the pandemic have only amounted to £1.6bn.
Speaking in the defence of Mr Khan, is his spokeswoman who said Mr Bailey’s campaign was deliberately lying and described the website as “fake news masquerading as ‘facts’.”
“The Tories must stop trying to take Londoners for fools. The only reason TfL needs Government support is because COVID-19 decimated our fares income, as has happened to train operators across the country. Before the pandemic, Mr Khan was clearing up the financial mess left by Boris Johnson’s mayoralty,” she said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Mr Bailey’s campaign said, “If Sadiq Khan is worried about explaining his side of the story, he can set up his own website. This website puts the facts out there. It doesn’t tell people what to think. Londoners can make up their own minds.”
The Transport for London Bailout Facts site was created following Mr Khan claim to have succeeded in killing off the very worst government proposals to secure the £1.8bn bailout. Although he said it was not a perfect deal but insisted he “fought hard to get to the best possible place”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month hinted that TfL was bankrupted before the coronavirus crisis, and proposals to hike charges were completely the responsibility of the London mayor.
Mr Khan said the government had wanted TfL to adopt a number of “ill-advised and draconian” measures in return for the financial package which includes extending the Congestion Charge zone to the North and South Circular roads, scrapping free travel for older and younger Londoners, and raising fares by more than previously agreed.
“I am determined that none of this will now happen. I am pleased that we have succeeded in killing off the very worst Government proposals. The only reason TfL needs Government support is because almost all our fares income has dried up since March as Londoners have done the right thing,” Mr Khan said.