Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PPP Backlash as Angry Labour MPs Vent Election Fears

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PPP Backlash as Angry Labour MPs Vent Election Fears

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK BENHAM;BEN LEAPMAN;ROBERT LEA

THE Government was hit by a major backlash from its own MPs today as they warned the PPP decision will backfire heavily on both Tube users and Labour at election time.

Gwyneth Dunwoody, Labour chairman of the Commons transport committee which published a highly critical report last week, said the scheme was "indefensibly incompetent" and "manifestly unworkable".

John Cryer, Labour MP for Hornchurch, warned of the "risk that the Labour party is going to be associated with something Londoners don't want".

Leftwing MP Diane Abbott said the Government was guilty of "breathtaking arrogance" in overriding public and expert opinion. She warned the PPP had already contributed to a humiliating result for Labour in the mayoral elections.

The scheme's most outspoken critic, Mayor Ken Livingstone, led warnings of a repeat of the "folly" of rail privatisation, including the risk of major disaster with loss of life.

The Mayor, who is considering a further legal challenge, said: "'Every genuinely independent analysis of the PPP, most recently by the House of Commons transport select committee, shows this is outrageously expensive, not value for money, sets the wrong priorities and is unsafe."

Mick Rix, general secretary of the Rail strike chaos for 350,000 next week THE RMT rail union is threatening to bring fresh misery to 350,000 passengers on South West Trains next week with a series of 24-hour strikes beginning at noon Monday and finishing the same time on Tuesday. A second stoppage will start at noon Wednesday until the same time on Thursday. SWT says it will run 1,000 train services next week if the strike goes ahead, almost two thirds of the usual 1,700 daily schedule. If the strikes, which are over pay, continue after that, more services will be run.

train drivers' union Aslef, said: "London Underground has been handed over to the real wreckers - accountants, lawyers and building site bosses who have all but destroyed the railway industry. …

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