Sadiq Khan asks Banksy to work with TfL on new artwork after last painting removed

17 July 2020, 15:32

By Megan White

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on Banksy to work with TfL on creating another piece of art after his last painting was cleaned off a Tube carriage.

The graffiti artist created his latest piece of work inside a London Underground carriage, but it was cleaned off by TfL for breaching its anti-graffiti policy shortly after it was done.

Mr Khan said he was “a bit crestfallen” that he hadn’t been able to see the work himself and called on the artist to work with the transport body to create a new one.

He told LBC Correspondent Rachael Venables: “When I discovered about Banksy’s piece of art and I spoke to colleagues in TfL, they weren’t aware about it.

“Lo and behold, our brilliant cleaners, and they are brilliant, they did the right thing – they saw a piece of graffiti and they cleaned it off.

“They do a great job making sure our public transport network is clean with the enhanced cleaning regime.

“I’m a bit crestfallen in relation to the possibility of seeing the art myself, but also you’re right, we could have made some money from it.

“My offer to Banksy is we’re at your disposal, work with us to do another piece of art and we can make sure more people see the piece of art but also we could maybe use your piece of art to help TfL with the difficult finances we’ve got.”

The Mayor also said Shamima Begum should “face the music” and return to the UK to face justice in the criminal courts.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal ruled that Ms Begum - one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group (IS) - should be allowed to return to the UK to fight the decision to remove her British citizenship.

Downing Street said the Government was "bitterly disappointed" by the ruling and the Home Office said it plans to appeal.

But Mr Khan said he supported the decision for the 20-year-old to return to the UK and said if found guilty, “should be sent away to prison for a very long time.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan watching young people take part in socially-distanced sports, during a visit to Mossbourne Riverside Academy in Hackney
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan watching young people take part in socially-distanced sports, during a visit to Mossbourne Riverside Academy in Hackney. Picture: PA

He said: “I support the decision for British citizens who are alleged to have committed criminal offences to face the music and to face a judge and a jury, and if they’re found guilty of those offences they should be sent away to prison for a very long time.

“What I don’t believe is in us subcontracting justice to somebody else.”

The Mayor was speaking at the launch of a new fund to provide positive opportunities and focused support for vulnerable young Londoners who have been most impacted by the lockdown.

£2.1 million will be invested in work projects over the summer and autumn that are dedicated to improving the wellbeing and opportunities of young people aged up to 25 across London, including some of the most vulnerable young people and their families.

He made the announcement during a visit to Mossbourne Riverside Academy in Hackney where he got to see his funding in action.

The academy delivers sports and other positive activities, including photojournalism projects, and are continuing with their work with social distancing measures in place.

Mr Khan also discussed today’s relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, calling on the Government to give “clear” messaging to the public.

The Mayor said: “I think people’s lives and livelihoods are inextricably linked, as are wealth and health.

“The key thing from any message from the Government for returning to work is it’s safe.

“What nobody wants is inadvertently a premature return to work that’s unsafe to lead to a second wave.

“That’d be catastrophic for the NHS, because it’d overwhelm it, but also catastrophic for our economy.

“So what we’re doing in City Hall is at the end of this month we’ll be inviting some staff back to work, 200 of the 700 staff because we’ve made adaptations to make City Hall safe.

“The public won’t be allowed back yet, but we’ve got hand sanitisers available, social distancing will take place, we’ve got signage including markings.

“It’s really important for any message from the Government to be clear and for there to be clarity.

“What nobody wants is more confused messages from the Government.”

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