Financial Conduct Authority boss says it is looking into issues raised by London Assembly


The boss of an independent financial watchdog has raised the possibility of a probe into Transport for London following questions that were raised about when and how it revealed details of Crossrail's delay.

Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey revealed that the watchdog was considering an investigation of TfL's handling of the saga in a letter to Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the London Assembly's transport committee.

Earlier this month Pidgeon and the rest of the committee accused London mayor Sadiq Khan and TfL of misleading the public of the delay. Pidgeon said it was highly likely that the mayor was informed on or soon after 19 July that there was very likely to be a delay.  

The committee said Khan had told the London Assembly on 6 September that Crossrail had not informed him of the delay to opening Crossrail until 29 August – but said that TfL had "definitely" been told of a likely delay on 19 July.

The transport committee has also revealed that it has now learnt of a statement TfL made to the London Stock Exchange on 24 July, which made no mention of the delay. According to the committee, Crossrail informed TfL "they could no longer have confidence in the date of opening" on 19 July.

The committee then wrote to the Financial Conduct Authority for clarification on this issue.

In his letter to Pidgeon, Bailey said: "We are aware of and are reviewing the issues referred to in your letter, with a view to determining whether it is appropriate for us to exercise any of our statutory powers. As part of this review we may use the information gathering powers available to us to seek further information from the subjects of the enquiry.

"Post completion of our review we will then consider whether it is appropriate for the FCA to launch a formal investigation via its Enforcement Division, whether some other form of intervention is required or indeed whether the case should be closed with no further action.

"We can assure you that work is being carried on the issues highlighted in your letter and, where necessary, relevant parties will be contacted."

Crossrail confirmed that the £15bn scheme had been delayed by at least nine months on the last day of August

In a tweet following the announcement, former transport secretary Andrew Adonis called the news a "catastrophe" and accused the government and current transport Chris Grayling of trying to bury bad news.