Newslinks & Round-up: 30th July 2007

LondonUnlocked, The NewsEditor

The Mayoral campaign has featured heavily in the news since Boris Johnson's entry into the race. ConservativeHome reports that Boff, Borwick, Johnson and Lightfoot proceed to hustings stage.

(Anyone registered to vote, Conservative Party member or not, can vote in the selection process for Conservative candidate for London Mayor - call 0906 555 5050 for a ballot paper. The calls are not expected to cost more than £1.50. The last date to register is 20th September and LondonUnlocked recommends that every reader gets involved in this process in order to help to shape the debate about London's Transport Future)

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats are wondering on-line about their own Mayoral prospects. LibDem Voice asks: When will the Lib Dems have a London mayoral candidate? Political Betting considers the prospects of Lib Dem MP, Lembit Opik, running as the Party's candidate.

London Flooding

The BBC raises the issue of London's flood defences. LondonUnlocked has to wonder what plans TfL has if the Thames should overflow into the Tube network. This is an issue that all Mayoral candidates should address in the coming months.

Metronet Crisis

The Guardian carries a well-written story about the failing of Metronet, arguing that the PPP scheme which Gordon Brown imposed on London was the real culprit for the disaster that ensued.

Meanwhile, other publications look at what is to happen next. The Telegraph reports that Tube Lines will not pick up the risks from the Metronet contracts. The Chief Executive of Tube Lines goes into detail about how difficult it is to work with TfL.

The Guardian discusses the possibility of the Mayor's team taking over most of Metronet's work:

In a proposal similar to the replacement of Railtrack by Network Rail, Metronet would be taken out of administration and its responsibilities transferred to a company managed by TfL.

Contract Journal goes further into this area, examining each of the options open to the Mayor now. The article ends on a less than positive note:

In the meantime, Ernst & Young's administrators will have to move quickly if they are to stop the inevitable haemorrhaging of staff and suppliers that comes with any administration. Although Metronet set out to reassure staff, suppliers and third-party creditors that, under the terms of the PPP administration, they would continue to be paid and that the renewal and maintenance programmes would go ahead, some remained unconvinced. One signals engineer told CJ: "No one likes this sort of uncertainty and if people can get certainty somewhere else they will go, particularly on the operations side."

If this prediction comes true, Metronet's administrators will be hard pressed to prevent major disruption to London Underground's modernisation programme and, in turn, the government's delivery plans for London's 2012 Olympic Games.