London mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is ‘looking at options’ if the charity behind the Garden Bridge does not agree to produce records of its board meetings
Khan told this morning’s regular Speak to Sadiq show on LBC radio that it was ‘remarkable’ that the Garden Bridge Trust – which is in the process of being shut down – had so far refused to hand over the meeting minutes to its public-sector sponsor Transport for London, despite repeated requests by TfL.
The mayor, who also chairs TfL, was questioned on the matter by LBC presenter James O’Brien.
‘We are not asking for state secrets or things that could damage the trust’s business,’ Khan told him. ‘They are winding down.
‘I cannot think of any good reason why the Garden Bridge Trust should not hand over these minutes – it beggars belief.
‘So far, we know that £37 million appears to have been spent and they could spend an additional £10 million on winding up. This is important for public confidence. What have they got to hide?’
A letter dated 22 January sent by TfL legal chief Howard Carter to the executive director of the Garden Bridge Trust Bee Emmott insisted that the minutes be produced by the Trust and demanded that Emmott respond within 10 days.
That 10 day deadline was yesterday (Thursday 1 February).
Asked by the LBC presenter what he would do if the trust did not comply with his wishes, Khan said: ‘We are looking at what options are open to us.’
LBC presenter James O’Brien
O’Brien, like the AJ, has spent months questioning how it is possible that the trust could have spent an estimated £46.4 million of public money on a bridge without construction even beginning.
Khan is the latest in a string of politicians across the political spectrum calling on the trust to produce the key records of its decision-making. These include Lib Dem leader Vince Cable, Lib Dem chair of the London Assembly’s transport committee Caroline Pidgeon, Labour Assembly member Tom Copley and former Tory transport minister Steve Norris.
The Garden Bridge Trust has been contacted for comment. It is unknown whether the Trust responded to TfL.