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Headline

Tories demand probe into Hodge’s Garden Bridge inquiry

Comment

We gave oral and written evidence to Margaret Hodge MP. Our experience of giving that evidence and our reading of her report makes it quite clear that more diligent scrutiny was applied by her than by all of the evidence gathering and analysis of the entire TfL team, GLA planning decisions team, and Lambeth Council planning and regeneration teams put together. Apart from the sheer quality and incisiveness on the part of Hodge, there was also an honesty and integrity which was in marked contrast to the deliberate obfuscation and dissembling of TfL from Commissioners Hendy and Brown downwards. And then there is the question of payments and cost. Hendy was paid around £650k by TfL in 2012-13, the year this wretched project was illegitimately green-lighted by TfL through the manipulation of procedure and the illegal misprocurement of services. Andrew Boff has always been scrupulous about the need for 'clean hands', and his integrity was always clear by his willingness to question this project openly when most in his party and many across the political spectrum were keeping their doubts quiet. But Andrew needs to get a sense of proportion. If Hodge were paid £9,500 despite Sadiq initially claimed she was acting pro bono, that would be a concern - but it pales into utter insignificance in the face of the fact that TfL has already blown £37m through illegitimate processes and illegal activities at the behest of Commissioners paid 70 times Hodge's purported fee, and whose key job was to advise the Mayor on what was and was not a genuine transport project, what was and was not a transport priority, what was and was not transport policy, what was and was not value for money, what was and was not procurable, what was and was not legal requirements for procurement, what was and was not a significant risk to TfL finances now and into the foreseeable future, and what was and was not to be considered a legitimate trigger to hand over millions of pounds to a third party who clearly lacked the capability of using that money to actually build a garden bridge. The GLA needs to address the very large beam in its TfL eye before worrying about the purported mote in Hodge.

Posted date

22 June, 2017

Posted time

12:35 pm

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