In part three of our interview with local MP, Nick Raynsford, he gives his thoughts on a variety of issues...
ON PLANS FOR AN EAST THAMES CROSSING
"I have absolutely no doubt that the Thames Gateway Bridge was necessary and will be built in due course and the mayor in the meantime is using this review as a fig leaf to cover his embarrassment. The reason he rejected the bridge was not a proper appraisal of Transport needs. It was because Ian Clement who was then his Deputy Mayor, now disgraced, was the leader of Bexley Council which politically was totally opposed to the TGB. It was a purely political decision. Boris knows that and he is trying to find a way out from an embarrassing position.
"The idea that you will somehow solve this problem by having some kind of additional ferry where the Bridge was supposed to be is for the birds."
ON THE SILVERTOWN LINK AND TOLLING BLACKWALL
"In the long term there probably is a need for the Silvertown Link as well but I think the overwhelming priority is to get the Thames Gateway Bridge in first. Actually if you have TGB you would almost certainly have to toll Blackwall as well because you would have the risk of people not using the TGB even though it may be the logical one to use because of the toll."
ON AIRPORT EXPANSION
"City Airport at the moment is meeting a need but it is a difficult one which has been highlighted by the introduction of these transatlantic flights. They are much, much noisier and you are in a very, very densely populated area and people living there are nervous about further expansion. It's a small niche airport providing a need for people particularly in Canary Wharf and the City who want to get quick access to an airport and travel faster than they can via Heathrow, but it is not he right location for a major airport certainly not flying transatlantic flights."
Greeenwich.co.uk: Did you oppose the recent expansion of the airport?
"I didn't oppose it because at the moment I think that City Airport should continue to expand but if you had an estuary airport, which I back, then clearly that would replace City and the business demand for it at Canary Wharf would gravitate very, very easily to the Estuary Airport."
Greenwich.co.uk: Doesn't the same arguments you have made for not expanding Heathrow, also apply to City Airport?
"You're talking about completely different things. You're not talking about a major international hub airport. You're talking about a relatively small niche operation, which closes for half the weekend. No flights at all Saturday to Sunday lunch time because that's the conditions in which it operates. So it is a small operation which while the planes are small, doesn't create a great deal of conflict. I get more complaints from
constituents about flights into Heathrow than I do about City Airport."
ON THE NEXT MAYORAL ELECTIONS AND KEN LIVINGSTONE
"I've said no more than that I think it would be a mistake for Ken Livingstone to stand again. I think in many ways he was a very good mayor. He made mistakes but he also did some very brave things which got the mayoralty off onto basically a very sound footing. So I pay a lot of tribute to Ken but I don't think that he would be the right candidate next time. I think that the Labour party should be looking for a new younger candidate who would be able to take London through really towards well into the second quarter of the century."
ON BORIS JOHNSON
"I think he has been successful with communicating with the public who like his cheerful slightly eccentric style, but I think he's made some serious mistakes on policy of which the TGB is an example. He's clearly made a hash of the tall buildings policy, where he initially said that there won't going to be any and has stood on his head on that, and he's also I'm afraid made some very poor choices in terms of people to serve him and that surprises me because his criticisms of Ken for employing Lee Jasper were in my view well justified and you would have thought he would have been rather more careful about who he appointed and how they operated in his office. So it's a mixed picture."
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