Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Boris Johnson to hand Crossrail to 'unfit' Norris

Boris Johnson is likely to hand control of the £16billion Crossrail project to a man called 'unfit' for office by families of those who died in the Potters Bar rail crash.

The Evening Standard are reporting that the ex-Jarvis chairman and Tory Mayoral candidate Steve Norris will be handed the crucial role, along with seats on both the London Development Agency and Transport for London. 

Norris is an extremely controversial choice to run the Crossrail project. During his campaign for Mayor he came under heavy fire after he refused to give up chairmanship of the company deemed responsible for the Potters Bar rail crash. 

Jarvis were in charge of maintaining the tracks at Potters Bar before the crash occured. Anger over his role at the firm was made worse when he claimed that there was evidence of sabotage to the railway tracks. The victim's families accused him of trying to absolve the company of their responsibilties and Norris was later forced to withdraw the claim.

Shareholders were also angered by his management of the company accusing him of 'presiding over a multifaceted disaster,' after shares collapsed. 

There was anger too at his defence of bonuses to the management team for their work during the year of the crash. The shareholders accused him of 'political arrogance' after he backed £1 million worth of pay-offs to directors who had left the firm.

His reappointment to TfL will also be seen by some as a settling of old scores after he was sacked by Ken Livingstone in 2001. Ken removed him from the board claiming that his directorship of Jarvis and his support of public-private partnerships made him unsuitable for the position. 

In fact Norris was a strong supporter of the failed Metronet private-public partnership for the London Underground and Jarvis themselves had originally bid for it. Ken Livingstone had opposed the deal from the start and the issue had been a source of tension between Norris and himself. The government backed Metronet contract finally collapsed last year and it is thought to have cost taxpayers in the range of £1.9 billion. 

However, if the £16 billion Crossrail project were to collapse, it would cost London much more. Let's just hope Norris and Boris are up to the job.


Chris said...

Oh no not 'shagger' norris!!! That's that screwed then.

Anonymous said...

I know Norris has got previous experience in the business and all but i thought Boris was under some serious PR operation. Do they not realise what they're doing or do they just figure that with the press as they are that they can get away with whatever they want. What next, Archer in charge of the budget?

Martin from MayorWatch said...

I can confirm the appointment both to TfL and LDA

The Tory Troll said...

Thanks Martin.