MPs react to water cannons sold at £300k loss

MPs react to water cannons sold at £300k loss

Monday, November 19, 2018

Members of Parliament have taken to social media over the news that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has sold water cannons bought when Boris Johnson was in the position for a £300k loss.

The three water cannons, which were bought and refurbished for £320,000 have just been sold for £11,025.

They have now been sold to Nottinghamshire-based Reclamations (Ollerton) Ltd, who will dismantle them and export the parts.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries criticised the Mayor of London for attacking Mr Johnson when London was “in the grip of violent crime”.

However, other MPs used the water cannons’ sale to ridicule Mr Johnson.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson wrote on twitter: “Boris Johnson: Absolute washout. What a pity they didn’t let a London taxpayer give him a hose down before selling this for scrap.”

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham said: “Not sure what's devalued more, the value of Boris's water canons or his own career.”


Londoners 'live with his vanity' 

Mr Khan announced the sale of the water cannons by saying that “London taxpayers have had to bear the brunt of Boris Johnson’s appalling botched” deal.

He said: "For too long, London taxpayers have had to bear the brunt of Boris Johnson's appalling botched water cannon deal. This has been another waste of taxpayers' money by Boris Johnson.

"Londoners continue to live with his vanity. I am pleased we have managed to finally get rid of them and I made an election promise to Londoners that I would claw back as much of this cash as possible, and pump it into helping young people at risk of being affected by crime and giving them better life opportunities."

The sale was announced as details were revealed of 72 youth projects that will receive the latest round of grants from the Young Londoners Fund.

The schemes, aimed at diverting young people away from crime, will receive a share of £13.2 million and include the Ben Kinsella Trust, Redthread and Football Beyond Borders.


Boris had 'his hands tied' 

The machines were bought by Mr Johnson from Germany in 2014 - crucially before their use had been licensed on the UK mainland.

Then-Home Secretary Theresa May banned their use in riot situations in 2015, and later used the purchase to ridicule Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership race after David Cameron resigned.

The machines cost £322,000 to purchase second-hand and then refit - including £32,004 for low emission zone compliance, £19,035 for re-painting, £3,109.20 for signage, and £970.50 for the fitting of radios and CD players.

It is understood that as prime minister Mr Cameron privately indicated he would license water cannon if there were a repeat of the 2011 riots.

A source close to Boris Johnson said: "In the wake of the London riots, with a worrying rise in knife crime and with his hands tied by the political decisions in the Home Office, Boris made tackling crime his number one priority.

"During his time as mayor he reduced the murder rate by 50% and brought overall crime down by 20%. This is a legacy the new mayor has sadly been unable to match."