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Sadiq Khan's bullish response to caller who says he's failed as a Mayor
3 July 2020, 11:53 | Updated: 3 July 2020, 11:58
This was Sadiq Khan's response to a caller who accused him of failing as Mayor of London.
Calling in to LBC's Speak to Sadiq, Nick from Kensington said, "You failed on housing, your fare freeze on TfL has been a disaster, you failed on Cross Rail 1, you failed for making the case for Cross Rail 2, and you have failed to support the government on Brexit, Covid and Heathrow.
"Are you really a Mayor of this city?"
Mr Khan responded to the accusations one at a time.
On housing, Mr Khan said the previous Mayor began three homes for social rent and he began more than 7,000 last year.
"I also increased the numbers of homes we've started so last year we began more than 17,000 - a record - the year before more than 14,000 - a record - a year before more than 12,500 - a record. We've also built more council homes than any year since 1982," Mr Khan said.
When he took on TfL the deficit was £1.5 billion, Mr Khan said: "I've reduced that by more than 71% so before Covid our deficit was £1.5 billion, it was £200 million with a plan to go into surplus next year."
He agreed he did not get Cross Rail open as planned and apologised, saying that lessons will be learnt as to why that happened.
"It's a bit rich for you to criticise me for Cross Rail 2, Nick, when it's the government delaying giving the green light on Cross Rail 2," he said, accusing them of "dithering."
For Heathrow, Mr Khan told the caller he'd been consistent with his views and "now the government agree with me in relation to no new runway at Heathrow." He told Nick the runway would be "catastrophic for air pollution."
Mr Khan moved on to Covid. He said when there is an inquiry he will be publishing all his correspondence and conversations with the government: "I think they've made a huge error in the last few weeks in relation to Covid and it's really important we learn the lessons in real time.
"Even Boris Johnson this morning admitted they'd made mistakes in relation to Covid-19."
For Brexit, he concluded, "I think it is the biggest act of economic self-harm our country's ever done."