Southwark Liberal Democrats Slam Labour for Failing to Condemn Sadiq’s Bus Cuts and Demand Public Get Their Say

Southwark Labour refused to commit to Liberal Democrat demands on Wednesday evening for public meetings with residents on TfL’s proposed bus cuts.

  • Liberal Democrats slam Labour as “pathetic, disingenuous and irresponsible"  for refusing to hold Labour Mayor to account
  • Liberal Democrats call on council to hold public meetings so residents can have their say.
  • Liberal Democrats condemn Labour for failing to hold the Mayor to account and demand they join a joint representation to the Mayor.


TfL is proposing cuts that would result in the withdrawal of sixteen routes of which four run through Southwark, a borough where some residents purely rely on buses for travel.

Southwark Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr Victor Chamberlain, asked the Labour party ahead of Wednesday’s council assembly if they would hold public meetings on the cuts.

Cllr Catherine Rose, Cabinet Member for Streets and Clean Air, refused to commit her Labour-run council to any such meetings with residents.

The Liberal Democrats, additionally, tabled a motion on Wednesday asking the council to lobby central government for a fair funding package.

This motion demanded Southwark’s cabinet lobby the Mayor to hold public meetings, stop the cuts, scrap the Silvertown tunnel and invest in existing or alternative transport.

It, furthermore, requested that the council conduct an independently-led expert investigation of the impact of the bus cuts on Southwark and for this to form the official council submission to take the party political spin out.

However, Labour councillors amended the motion so that campaigning was solely directed to the Conservative government.

They took out demands to scrap the Silvertown Tunnel and commission an objective and independent investigation of the cuts.

The Southwark Labour party voted this amended motion through, which marked a continuation of its refusal to criticise the Mayor.

This follows on from Khan failing to attend a July meeting of the council’s main scrutiny body, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC), following an official invite.

When Khan sent TfL representatives to the meeting in his stead, Liberal Democrat OSC members requested the committee register its disappointment in his no show – which Labour scrutiny members refused to do.

Both parties at the council assembly did agree to campaign for the Conservative government to provide TfL with a fair funding settlement.

Commenting, Cllr Victor Chamberlain, Southwark Liberal Democrat Group Leader who proposed the motion said:

“It is unacceptable that the TfL funding package is being used as a political football by a Tory government keen to win cheap digs at the Labour Mayor. But, the Labour Mayor is also partially responsible for the reason TfL is in such a mess. A Labour Mayor should not be inflicting cuts on the poorest and most vulnerable. Both Boris and Sadiq are failing South London. Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the government and Labour Mayor to account.

It’s pathetic, disingenuous and irresponsible for Labour councillors not to hold their Mayor to account. After just two months Southwark Labour have already broken their promise to make bus journeys quicker. A sign of things to come. The Mayor has created a transport black hole in South London through years of mismanagement, such as kicking the Bakerloo line extension into the long grass. He clearly does not care about this part of the capital, he is proposing further reduction of our vital bus service, and Southwark Labour are desperate for him to avoid the blame. When will they stand up to him?”





  1. To see the Liberal Democrat question to the cabinet member, click here.
  2. You can see the original motion, ‘Saving South London Buses’ here.
  3. You can see Labour’s Amendment B here.
  4. To see Cllr Chamberlain's speech on the bus cuts at the assembly, click here