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"Let’s see the colour of their money": Boris on private backing for Cross River Tram

Boris Johnson was lauded and criticised in equal measure at Mayor's Question Time on Wednesday after his announcement last week that he will not pursue the Cross River Tram scheme.

Tory assembly member Brian Coleman (Barnet & Camden) said that the Mayor is "a hero in vast areas of north London" for cancelling the proposed tram link from Camden Town to Brixton and Peckham via Waterloo Bridge.

"My residents are delighted by your cancellation of the Cross River Tram. It is an ex-tram. It has ceased to be. It is a dead tram."

Fellow Conservative Richard Tracey described the tram proposal as "bonkers" and recommended the introduction of extra bus services in south London.

The Mayor was keen to justify his decision to abandon a number of transport projects including the Cross River Tram.

"I'm merely trying to be straight with the London electorate unlike the previous guy," Mr Johnson told the London Assembly.

"I am ending the deceit that we could proceed with these projects when we simply don't have the government funding available to do so.

"It is always open to politicians to pretend to the electorate that they are going to go ahead with some wonderful scheme for the betterment of their area and persuade them that it is about to happen when in reality they know perfectly well that they don't have the funds to do it."

But Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon AM wanted to know why the Mayor was not pursuing private sector funding for the Cross River Tram.

"If there are private sector concerns who are willing to invest in the Cross River Tram, and to provide the shortfall, then let's see the colour of their money," said the Mayor.

"Bring them to my office, Caroline. We will push the boat out for them, we will kill the fatted calf for these people. Roust them out!"

Ms Pidgeon immediately replied: "There's a company called Tram Power who say they can run a tram and fund it, so that's one company."

In response to a question from Val Shawcross AM the Mayor claimed that representatives of Lambeth Council had told him that uncertainty about the Cross River Tram was "blighting property" in the borough.

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