UK Politics

Olympic games lanes could be suspended

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Media captionSports Minister Hugh Robertson says contingency plans will be in place in the event of "complete gridlock" in London

Priority lanes for Olympic athletes and officials could be suspended if London grinds to a halt.

Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics London, Sport Minister Hugh Robertson said the authorities have plans to lift the restrictions on the Olympic Games Lanes if there is gridlock.

There will be 30 miles of Games Lanes in London forming part of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) linking venues.

Shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell described the plans as "sensible".

Asked about the possibility of lifting restrictions, Mr Robertson told the programme: "The best advice to anybody who is thinking of travelling into central London over the Olympic period, is if you're thinking of driving into central London, please don't.

"If the whole of London grinds to an absolute halt, nobody can move anywhere, I don't think that is going to happen by the way, but if it were to, of course we would look at the plans, you'd have to be foolish not to."


On the same programme, former Commander of British forces in Bosnia, Conservative MP Bob Stewart, called for troops being called into help in the Olympic Games to be given a bonus.

It was announced on Wednesday that an extra 3,500 servicemen will be needed to help with security for the games because private contractor G4S did not have enough trained security staff.

Speaking about proposed strikes by bus drivers, Mr Stewart said: "Have you ever thought, bus drivers, whether the military who have bought in to help sort out this situation should get a bonus as well for doing it? They won't get a bonus.

"They will be delighted to come in to sort out the problem and actually, quite frankly, I ask the bus drivers, stop this, we've got to make this a great event, sort it out as fast as possible.

"The military have been put on standby. That's what the military have to do. That's what the military are there for, and as I said, it would be jolly nice if they could get a bonus, but they won't."

It comes as Lord Coe, the London 2012 organising committee chairman, told BBC the Olympics isn't in "crisis" following a week in which the organisers have had to wrestle with the G4S security issues and transport problems, with the part closure of the M4.


In his first comments since extra troops were brought in to staff Olympic venues, Lord Coe said: "The Games isn't in crisis. This is a seven year project, every day is a challenge.

"Don't run away with the idea that this is a walk in the park. If it were a walk in the park everyone would be doing it."

He said Locog, the Olympic organisers, had recognised the security issue and said it was a "prudent and judicious" decision to act quickly to bring in the military.

He insisted that now was not the time to feel let down or blame people.

The chairman and chief executive of G4S have been called to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday.

In addition, the Home Office, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, Locog and G4S have all been asked to appear before the Public Accounts Committee in September to explain the G4S situation.

The Sunday Politics was broadcast on BBC1 on Sunday 15 July at 12.00 BST.

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