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London Assembly sets up working group to probe Garden Bridge

The London Assembly's GLA oversight committee has set up a cross-party working group to continue to probe the Garden Bridge project.

The defunct project to build a footbridge across the Thames between the South Bank and Victoria Embankment has cost taxpayers more than 40 million.

The working group – which has Labour, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP members – will consider the new information that has come to light since the GLA oversight committee last scrutinised the Garden Bridge.

Minutes of meetings of the Garden Bridge Trust were made public in May this year, providing a new seam of information about the project.

Labour's Tom Copley, who proposed the new working group, said: "One of the key issues we want the working group to consider relates to what the TfL officers ... who were party to the information in the minutes ... were saying to those higher up at TfL, because it is clear that things didn't seem to be going particularly well and yet large sums of public money were still being handed over.

"We also want to look at the role of the Charity Commission which ultimately is the regulator, and any additional issues regarding contracts.

"TfL is currently considering whether to release further taxpayer money – 9 million worth – which the trust claims that it is entitled to, so I think it's still very much a matter that warrants the assembly's scrutiny."

The working group will be chaired by Tom Copley (Labour) and its members will be Len Duvall (Labour), Peter Whittle (UKIP), Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem) and Sian Berry (Green).

The Conservative group declined to participate.

Last month Mr Copley quizzed Mayor of London Sadiq Khan about the Garden Bridge at Mayor's Question Time, urging him to write to Meg Hillier MP, chair of the House of Commons public accounts committee, to request a parliamentary inquiry into the project.

Mr Khan declined to write to Ms Hillier but said that Mr Copley was welcome to do so himself.

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