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Opinion: Mayor must answer urgent questions

PUBLISHED: 08:30 16 May 2020

London Assembly member Keith Prince wants Sadiq Khan to answer questions at the Assembly.

London Assembly member Keith Prince wants Sadiq Khan to answer questions at the Assembly.

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In a crisis, it’s more important than ever that political leaders are held to account. Without hard questions, it’s easy for politicians to make lazy, poorly considered choices which don’t work in reality.

That’s why the government routinely answers questions at its daily press conference and ministers continue to face the House of Commons.

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Hard questioning ensures they are making the right decisions for the country. But, one political leader has avoided answering any questions since this crisis began; London Mayor’s Sadiq Khan.

The mayor has been repeatedly urged to face the London Assembly since the country went into lockdown, but Khan has refused every invite. In the last six weeks, I do not doubt that the mayor’s refusal to be questioned by the Assembly has led to poorer decision making at City Hall.

For example, the mayor has rejected calls for Transport for London staff to be provided with protective masks. Khan made this error of judgement despite him demanding the public to wear facial coverings. This sort of inconsistency would never stand if the mayor was facing regular questioning from the Assembly.

There are many urgent questions that the mayor must answer. Londoners need to know why efforts to protect transport workers from coronavirus have been ineffective, why the Tube service has been severely cut despite overcrowding, and how the mayor plans to get London moving safely again. It’s time Sadiq Khan faced the Assembly.


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