LondonNet News Headlines
|Kiley Under Pressure to Quit
- 'He cannot continue,' says Tube boss
GOVERNMENT knives are out for London Transport boss Bob Kiley, one of the most high-profile opponents of Tube privatisation.
Kiley has had a running battle with government figures from the Prime Minister down, over the future of London Underground, and could now be forced out of the picture altogether.
The man currently responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Tube, Derek Smith, has called for Kiley to be booted out in comments likely to have the tacit backing of Transport Minister Steven Byers.
Smith said that if Kiley continued with his opposition to farming out important parts of the network to the private sector, "he cannot continue in this role."
Smith knows that there is little chance of Kiley walking out of his own accord until at least after a court hearing on the whole privatisation issue, set for the end of this month, so is presumably firing the first shot in what is set to become a war of attrition against the former head of the New York Subway.
While Smith and his pals in Government form the pro-privatisation faction in the dispute and Kiley and main political sponsor London Mayor Ken Livingstone the apparent opposition, it is the third site of power, namely the transport unions, that could prove decisive. A series of one-day strikes earlier this year was overwhelmingly supported by both ordinary members and the travelling public, but union leaders have now, somewhat, strangely decided to hold fire.