23/02/2016 11:02 GMT | Updated 30/03/2016 09:59 BST

Elizabeth Line: Boris Johnson Has A Billion Reasons To Thank The EU For Crossrail

Boris Johnson has been slammed as "deeply hypocritical" for campaigning for Brexit, despite "acknowledging the benefits membership brings London" - including to Europe's biggest infrastructure project, Crossrail.

The London mayor unveiled the new name for Crossrail today, at a ceremony with the Queen, announcing that the major rail scheme would be named the Elizabeth Line after Her Majesty.

Johnson is believed to have come up with the name himself.

In 2009, the Mayor of London praised the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU's bank, after it granted London’s multi-billion-pound Crossrail project a staggering £1 billion loan.

Johnson meets the Queen as she arrived at the construction site of the Bond Street Crossrail station

At the time, the Guardian reported that Boris Johnson said: "Our good friends at the EIB have provided us with a billion more reasons to proceed with the unstoppable force that is Crossrail.

“It is one of the largest loans ever secured for a transport project and I am especially pleased to have this backing for our drive to provide London with the facilities required to keep the capital one of the world's leading cities."

But Stronger In's chief campaign spokesman, James McGrory, told The Huffington Post UK: "The £1 billion European Investment Bank loan to help Crossrail is a great demonstration of how London is stronger in Europe.

The new Crossrail line has been named after the Queen

“EU funding is helping to build Britain’s infrastructure, attract investment to this country, and create jobs in Britain.

“For Boris Johnson to campaign for Britain to leave Europe after acknowledging the benefits membership brings London is deeply hypocritical.

“It is a betrayal of our great capital city and Londoners for Boris Johnson’s last act as Mayor to turn his back on London and back leaving Europe.”

The Crossrail project is costing £15.9 billion in total, with Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London authority responsible for £7.7 billion of the cost while central government provides around £5 billion.

Although the EIB does lend to states outside the EU, it seems that a UK outside the union could find it harder to secure such a large loan again.

Boris Johnson poses with Crossrail workers

Richard Willis, press officer at the EIB, told The Huffington Post UK that over the years, Britain had received vastly greater sums of cash than its non-EU partners.

He said: “Looking over recent years, what we’ve done to support investment in the UK, compared with over the same time frame lending to investment in non-EU countries within Europe, it was £1 billion between Norway and Switzerland compared to £43 billion in the UK.”


He also pointed out that the single largest loan the EIB has ever given was to the UK (£1.6 billion for National Grid).

Willis did add, however, that it was not possible to say for sure what would happen in the case of a ‘Leave’ vote.

HuffPost UK has contacted Boris Johnson's office and awaits comment.