Is there no desperate act a politician will stoop if his mate could lose his seat on may 7? Well Boris Johnson is prepared to do it to save Mike Freer, his Tory colleague standing for Finchley and Golders Green even it means telling porkies in the seat that once returned Margaret Thatcher and has a large Jewish vote.
Threatened according to another Tory peer and now eminence gris of the pollsters, Lord Ashcroft, with losing his seat to Labour’s Sarah Sackman on May 7, Boris thought he could perform a minor miracle and save a much loved bus route,the number 13 from Golders Green to Aldwych and swing the vote.
Unfortunately for him his success turned out to be a lie – because he has no power to do so particularly under the purdah rules in a General Election which forbids politicians ( and Boris is of course a Parliamentary candidate elsewhere) from taking controversial decisions for electoral gains.
This didn’t stop Mike Freer – see below – posing with Boris on his website announcing he had saved the Number 13.
As he says on his website:
” London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has today announced that the Number 13 Bus from Golders Green to Aldwych has been retained. The Mayor’s announcement follows a long-running campaign by Mike Freer to save the much loved service. Mike raised the issue of the 13 bus during the Mayor’s visit to Golders Green last week.
Mike comments ““I’ve already had a meeting with TfL and told them they were wrong and when Boris came to Golders Green recently I told him he needed to go back to the drawing board.
The proposals have been dropped and the number 13 is going nowhere. I’m very happy about it. It’s always useful when you can get things done.
“Being an MP you don’t always get your own way but sometimes you can get a result like this. Under Boris’s mayoralty, the number 13 is going nowhere.”
Err Unfortunately not true Mr Freer. That is not the story Transport for London are telling the people as this letter shows:
We recently consulted on proposals for changes to bus routes along Finchley Road and Abbey Road, which included the replacement of route 13 with alterations to routes 82 and 139. We received over 3000 responses to the consultation which is now closed. However, concerns have been expressed that the consultation has been partially undertaken during the pre-election period which runs until 7th May.
It is therefore our intention not to progress the scheme at this time. The comments received from this consultation will however be used to inform future bus network planning in the Finchley Road and Abbey Road areas, and any resulting proposals would be subject to further public consultation.
Head of Consultation
Transport for London
All that has happened is that Transport for London has already postponed the consultation until after the election – when it will come back again. No doubt Mr Freer hopes he will have been safely re-elected by then and of course will have no interest in any cuts that follow for his constituents.