Johnson praises 'heroic' transport efforts after snow

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Boris Johnson praised the "heroic" efforts" of transport bosses to get the capital's buses running today as he refused to allow the snow-related problems to prevent him attending a grilling by MPs.

The London Mayor stunned MPs by insisting on turning up for a session which they thought had been cancelled to allow him to deal with the chaos caused by yesterday's exceptional weather conditions.

Parliamentary officials had offered City Hall a postponement last night - and thought it had been agreed - but it was rejected this morning by Mr Johnson.

His imminent arrival was notified to committee members via a hastily-written memo circulated as they questioned other witnesses.

And before giving his evidence, on the arrest of Tory MP Damian Green, Mr Johnson said he was keen to avoid any suggestion that London remained snowbound.

Ignoring shouts of "paralysed" from Labour's David Winnick, Mr Johnson declared: "I was interested to get the invitation not to come last night, having been invited to come.

"I can tell you wild horses would not have kept me away from your distinguished committee this morning if it could possibly have been construed as any kind of comment on London Transport, which is running very, very well indeed this morning.

"I would like to congratulate everyone on the heroic efforts made throughout the night to get the buses running."

There was almost a full bus service in the capital today after yesterday's blanket suspension.

The efforts were not of immediate help to Mr Johnson - who travelled to Parliament on his preferred form of transport: his bicycle.

He told reporters he had managed not to fall off in the snow and ice but had suffered a "wobble" while out on two wheels yesterday.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz insisted no inferences would have been drawn from a no-show.

"Can I assure you that if you were not able to attend, the committee would have understood," he said.