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Ask Boris: 3rd March 2014 - Watch In Full

Tuesday 4th February 2014

Boris Johnson is answering your questions in the latest of his monthly Ask Boris programmes.

The Mayor of London joins Nick Ferrari for his a regular LBC 97.3 phone-in. He'll discuss any topic you want him to - so send us your questions on the issues that affect you for next time.

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09:50 Wow, that was tense. Boris Johnson and Bob Crow spoke for the first time in five years ahead of tonight's tube strike.

Watch it in full above.

09:46 - on how the strike action will impact 

Boris: We are going to do our absolute best to keep the service running, people shouldn't expect that there won't be disruption. Look online and see what is running.

09:39 - Bob Crow rings in - he says that all they want is the opportunity to come and express their views.

Boris:  It's good for you to call in, I respect that you are the leader of a very important union. The best way for you to express your views is to call off the strike and then I will be more than happy to talk to you about the tube.

I can't negotiate with you on air when you are holding a gun to Londoners heads with the threat of strike action.

Bob: We are not asking for you to negotiate, we just want you to listen. We are happy to call the strike off... a form has been sent off saying these jobs are going. That form can be suspended and we can suspend our action. We have chief negotiator saying he's got it from the top and it's not going to happen

Boris: what you need to do is go and see Phil Hufton, go to ACAS, these talks are for the negotitations not for here. Of course there are job losses but there are no compulsory redundancies and we've already had 1,000 people express an interest in voluntary redundancy. There is no reason for this. Plese, please, please get into the negotiation room.

Bob: It's like saying you can have any coloured car as long as it is black. 

Boris: What you've got to do is call off this public strike that will nothing except cost your members thier wages. Ticket offices are old fashioned technology. Things have moved on. [When I said I'd keep ticket offices open] that was six years ago, things have moved on since then, the iPhone wasn't even invented the.

The RMT, all they are trying to do, all this is about muscle flexing and power, they know they have no chance of stopping this, they want to show to their memebrs that London Underground can't make changes without this kind of action.

I urge you to do the right thing for yourself, for London for your members and get round the negotiating table.

09:36 - Banning on a London bus advert suggesting being gay could be 'cured' - Boris was accused of unlawfully using his power to ban it to get the gay vote

Boris: I decided the thing should obviously come off as it was totally offensive. The important thing was before I decided that they had already done it. This was in the spring of 2012 and the lines went red hot. [We contacted the Guardian] because people wanted to know about it. If the Guardian want to know what my view is then I am going to tell it. 

[Says the Guardian contracted them rather than the other way aroung]

I didn't want homophobic buses on London's streets.


09:28 - On no cash for buses - from bus driver Mandy (who also said thank you as it will mean no more muggings)

Boris: I think Mandy as you will know bus drivers are already pretty flexible, if it is late at night and there is no way... during the day we will make sure that people are aware they need their card topped up and we are looking at the shop system to make sure there is more coverage for people to top up.

[On one touch bank card being used]

It is fantastic, I tried to do that, it will not try to take money from both a one touch bank card and an Oyster card.

[What about tourists?]

You can pay with credit cards - if you are a tourist and it is overwhelming probable that you will have a bank card. 

09:26 - Would a water cannon have made a difference in the riots?

Boris: I don't think they would. There was one situation in Croydon where there was a very brief window. I think the time slot was so slim i think it was highly unlikely we could have got it down there.

It is conceivable but highly unlikely.

We're not going to have them on the streets, they are not going to be visable and they will be very rarely used.

We're going ahead with it, there is a consultation and we'll have to see what the Home Secretary says.

They will cost around 30,000 each (second hand from Germany).

09:25 - Question on the guy who absconded from his Tpim

Boris: These things are difficult to comment on but I am sure the security services are doing their best


09:20 - Question on when the Hammersmith fly-under scheme can go ahead?

Boris: It is a really visionary scheme that is taken by the flyover and have parks and development and tunnelise it. The difficulty is that in order to make it economically viable you have look at what you are going to develop on it.

Nick Botterill who is the leader of Hammersmith Council is very keen on it. They are going to be producing a paper in March or April, we are supporting it but this will cost hundreds of millions of pounds. Not many corporations have that kind of sponsorship budget. The argument will turn on what kind of development the people want on the surface that will enable that tunnel to be financed if you see what I mean.

09:16 - Question on cyclist deaths - is it time to target cyclists and educate them on road safety?

Boris: In the end you cannot just say it is all motorists and it is all lorry drivers but a lot of accidents involved HGVs so we are doing more to make them safer. 

We will be doing that, it could be as early as September or the end of next year at the latest. There is consultation to be done, we've got to do this right. These things have to be agreed with central London and with the EU.

Sorry it is by the end of this year at the latest, I think that is a reasonable delay for lorry driver.

They will have to have mirrors and side-guards. Lorries move around and crculate within the EU so you have to consult with those bodies too.

What about cyclists? If you remember when we had that spate of deaths in the run up to Christmas, which was awful and I got hounded for victim blaming. However you do sometimes have to accepts that cyclists don't always cycle safely.

We had the police on our roads doing a crackdown on safety and I hope that that has had an impact.

09:12 - Question on the cable car - caller Michael a supporter of it but thinks the public perception of it is that it is a fairground ride. Why can't you use Oyster on it?

Boris: It is already covering its revenue costs, you can't say that of virtually any other form of travel in the capital.

We have got EU money towards it and we got 36m from Emirates, that is one of the reasons why the cable car is economical. If you look at what it has done it is a very important part of regeneration in that area. It is why [Chinese company] APB are investing in that area. That is going to deliver 20,000 jobs.

It is on the Oyster card. 

I do hear the criticisms people make, we will look at what we can do to satisfy them but at the moment we are very, very happy with it.

[Boris is still up for going up and doing the show from the cable car "when it is nice weather"]

09:08 - Why isn't Boris talking to Bob Crow?

Boris: He says he won't talk while there is a gun at his head, I can't talk to him for the same reason. They are not engaging at ACAS and they are threatening a pointless strike.

We are ready to roll out the red carpet and offer him a nice coffee - won't be a Pina Colada like I've seen him having recently.

Nick Ferrari - when did you last speak to him?

Boris: A few years ago. My door is open, I am longing to speak to him. I gather he might ring in... I am told LBC may be fixing a little conversation... we are talking to the LBC phone in fixers and I wouldn't be at all surprised if a MR Robert Crow rings.

What should be happening; Phil Hufton, our team are at ACAS they want to sort it out, there is no point in carrying out this strike.

09:04 - Question on if we had to have a revote if someone got less than 50% (like the vote for strike action because of voter turn out) Boris would not be Mayor. Why won't he sit down with tube unions?

Boris: It's not 1,000 jobs there are 750 posts that will go but new jobs will be created as we bring in new technology. There are no compulsory redundancies and we've already had 1,000 people expressing an interest in voluntary redundancy. This is about taking the service forward and getting more staff on to the platforms.

Crime is coming down on the underground and this will improve things further.

The figures that I got is that the RMT balloted more than 8,000 people. Of those only 2,000 voted for strike action.

It is entirely fair that I only got 40% turnout but there is a complete difference between a municiple election and a vote on a service on which people rely.

What I think really should happen is RMT and TSSA get round a table at ACAS and continue talks.

09:03 - Ask Boris has begun. Call 0845 60 60 973 or email
08:48 While Boris is here, he will answer whatever questions you have for him. Call 0845 60 60 973.
08:43 Whatever happens, you can watch it live. Watch it here on
08:38 The tube strike starts tonight at 9pm in the first of two 48-hour tube strikes, but the Mayor has not met the union chief. Could that happen live on LBC?

08:34 Earlier this morning on Nick Ferrari At Breakfast, RMT boss Bob Crow said that he would meet Boris Johnson any time - and he's willing to come to the LBC studio this morning.

Will we get those long-awaited talks on tonight's tube strike?

08:30 Welcome to another Ask Boris - and this could be a firecracker.