Lib Dems wade into Boris Bikes row: “We suggested it first”

Party claims neither of London’s former mayors should take credit for the scheme

The Lib Dems have reignited an old row over who started Boris Bikes, maintaining it was an assembly member from their party who first raised the idea of a cycle hire scheme in London.

Following our interview with former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone in which he said his administration started the scheme, the Liberal Democrats contacted London Loves Business to highlight it was one of their assembly members who first campaigned for a cycle hire scheme in London – six years before it began.

A Lib Dem spokesman said: “The reality is that cycle hire schemes have long existed in many European cities so the idea of having a scheme in London is not exactly an original idea. It is also worth noting that Ken Livingstone was Mayor from 2000 to 2008 so the fact that he finally got TfL to start working on a possible scheme in 2007 hardly demonstrates it was a key priority for him.  

“In fact it is worth noting that Lynne Featherstone, when she was a London Assembly Member, urged him to consider a cycle hire scheme in 2001. Between 2001 and 2007 Ken Livingstone basically did nothing to progress the idea.”

Current mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon wrote a blog post back in 2010, where she called for honesty from both former mayors.

While the row has been rumbling for years, the upcoming mayoral elections in May have shone light on Johnson’s legacy – in particular the projects he has won praise for that were started by the previous administration.

Livingstone said the incumbent had introduced virtually no new ideas to London, telling us: “As far as I know, there are only two schemes that are uniquely Boris’s and that’s the cable car to nowhere and the rotating restaurant in the Olympic site [which became the ArcelorMittal Orbit].”

 

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