Mayoral race favourite says he will go to court to prevent part-privatisation of the Tube if elected. Mayoral race favourite says he will go to court to prevent part-privatisation of the Tube if elected.
Ken Livingstone, favourite to become the first mayor of London, has told firms bidding for the Tube contracts to withdraw after revealing that he will seek a judicial review to stop the government’s public-private partnership scheme if elected on 6 May.

Livingstone said: “They should give up and go home. They are wasting their time,” when asked what message he would send to consortia due to submit bids today.

He added: “If I get in, I will seek a judicial review to stop the government going ahead with the public-private partnership on the grounds that it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.”

The comments were made at last week’s launch of Building London’s Economy, the economic development blueprint prepared for the mayor by London Development Partnership, forerunner of the London Development Agency.

London Underground has assembled a high-security evaluation suite at its offices where today’s bids to operate the two packages of deep Tube lines will be reviewed over the next eight weeks.

A London Underground source said none of the bidders was expected to pull out at the last minute, but he did confirm that bidders had expressed concern over the possibility of Livingstone being elected mayor.

He suggested that consortia that reached the final shortlist announced in late May would be likely to charge a premium for their bids if Livingstone was elected. Two bidders will be shortlisted for each of the deep Tube contracts. They will then go into a negotiation phase to establish a “best and final offer”.

The shortlist was also announced on Tuesday last week for the franchise to operate the sub-surface lines. The three consortia shortlisted are: Metronet, made up of Adtranz, Balfour Beatty, WS Atkins, Thames Water, Seeboard and Westinghouse; LINC, comprising Alcatel, Anglian Water, Bombardier, Fluor Daniel and Mowlem; and Tube Lines, including Bechtel, Halcrow, Amey, Hyder and Jarvis. Full bids are due back on 11 September.

A report published by Labour peer David Currie has attacked Livingstone’s proposals for financing the renovation of London Underground. The report by Currie, a professor at the London Business School, says Livingstone’s plan to finance the Tube’s renovation by issuing bonds could cost an extra £2.3bn.

Meanwhile, the DETR transport select committee has launched an inquiry into whether the public-private partnership is the best-value option (24 March). The committee will start taking evidence on 5 April. The move has increased bidders’ fears that the government may abandon the public-private partnership, but the DETR has downplayed the inquiry’s significance.