Shaun Bailey this morning began a 32-hour bus tour of London as part of a final campaign push ahead of next week’s election.
Starting in west London, where he grew up, the Conservative candidate will make his way to every London borough to “bring the politics to the street” and “address the issues that local people have”.
The first stop this morning was Hammersmith Bridge, which has been closed since April 2019 due to safety concerns.
Mr Bailey told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he had a “three-step plan” for resolving the situation.
He said: “Number one: make the ferry free. To charge people to cross the river, I think, is wrong because obviously the bridge didn’t charge.
“Number two is to put a temporary bridge in. Either the Beckett Rankine one or, I am obviously in favour of the bailey Bridge, just so that local people and emergency services can cross.
“And thirdly, is to pay money towards helping a replacement bridge happen. That should’ve been the plan in the first place. I don’t know why we’re still arguing about it. The money is there, we just need to take action.”
But Mr Bailey has been criticised for his claim that Sadiq Khan “refused to pay” for repairs with “£2.1 billion in reserves”.
A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan’s campaign said: “As someone who is aspiring to be Mayor, the Tory candidate should know that TfL has to keep money in the bank to pay its staff, contractors and lenders. The fact that TfL held £2 billion of cash balances at the start of the pandemic meant that it was able to continue to function for two months without recourse to Government.
“The answer for Hammersmith Bridge is for Government ministers to put their money where their mouth is. Sadiq will continue to work with TfL, the councils and government to find a way to share the costs fairly and to fix this appalling situation once and for all.”
Recent opinion polls have seen Sadiq Khan maintain a double-digit lead over his Conservative rival with just one week to go until the election.
But this morning, Shaun Bailey said that “the only poll that matters is polling day” and that he is “confident” ahead of May 6.