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Margaret Hodge and Mike Brown to face Garden Bridge grilling

Dame Margaret Hodge MP and Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown will face questions about the Garden Bridge project at a City Hall committee meeting next week.

Dame Margaret Hodge
Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge is famous for asking difficult questions about spending public money, but next week she'll be in the witness seat at City Hall

The London Assembly's GLA Oversight Committee will next Wednesday hold a session on the 'Independent Review of the Garden Bridge and Lessons Learnt'.

The failed attempt to build a bridge across the Thames linking Temple with the South Bank is expected to cost taxpayers around 46 million.

The GLA Oversight Committee will put questions to Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Mike Brown of Transport for London and the Mayor of London's chief of staff David Bellamy, who has been the key City Hall official dealing with Garden Bridge matters since Sadiq Khan's election.

The committee will address criticisms made by Conservative AMs about the conduct of Dame Margaret's review, as well as discussing the impact the report had on the Garden Bridge project itself.

Assembly members may ask TfL commissioner Mike Brown how he reconciles his public and private remarks about the Garden Bridge's credentials as a transport infrastructure project.

In December 2015 Mr Brown told the same City Hall committee that he was "convinced that there is a very valid, legitimate transport imperative around this project".

But a year later the commissioner told Dame Margaret that "...if I'm being honest ... from a TfL perspective it's not overtly a transport imperative" and that the Garden Bridge would not be among his top 100 transport priorities for the capital.

Mr Brown's more candid 2016 assessment was only made public when transcripts of evidence given to Dame Margaret were released by City Hall after requests under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) from the SE1 website and others.

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