“Never forget that [TfL] was left with a very considerable sum of money by the previous mayor, who left the coffers full.”

Boris Johnson, Coronavirus Press Briefing

January 4, 2022

Facts

Boris Johnson was talking about his own time as Mayor of London, claiming that he left TfL’s “coffers full”. 

TfL’s own funding statement says: “Sadiq Khan inherited a £1.5 billion budget deficit from Boris Johnson when he became Mayor.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London challenged Johnson on this, saying: “It is simply not true that the previous Mayor ‘left the coffers full’ at TfL.

“The overwhelming majority of TfL’s borrowing was incurred under the previous mayoralty, throughout which TfL accumulated £7billion of debt – vastly more than in all other years of TfL’s existence combined - so most of the interest that TfL is currently paying results from borrowing when the current prime minister was Mayor of London.”

Verdict

Johnson’s slur on Sadiq Khan, uttered during a press briefing on the Coronavirus emergency, was false.  

We approached Mr Johnson’s office, the Cabinet Office and the No 10 Press Office to give them a chance to comment, but no reply.

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