London Underground's future is driverless says Transport Sec Grant Shapps as Tube deal drags on

'No reason why London should be left behind,' Grant Shapps told ITV News

London Underground trains won't need drivers in years to come meaning fewer frustrating strikes for commuters, according to the Transport Secretary.

Grant Shapps said London needed to run its transport system a lot like Paris where driverless trains meant a more reliable service.

Mr Shapps spoke as a government-imposed deadline for Transport for London to accept £3.6bn funding deal passed without agreement.

'Can't hold back tide of time'

Speaking to ITV News about the move towards driverless trains the Transport Secretary said: "That's not something that will happen overnight but in years to come of course we'd expect Tube trains to become driverless and that will happen as Tube trains are updated in future. "We can't hold back the tide of time.

"It seems to me they are managing in Paris to get way ahead of us with automated trains which can run more smoothly and safely and not subject to as many strikes."

Mr Shapps said there was no reason "no reason why London should be left behind".

A long-term finance plan was meant to end to more than two years of emergency government bailouts, totalling £5bn.

Jubilee line trains parked at the London Underground Stratford Market Depot in Stratford

But a City Hall spokesperson said there were "significant issues" and talks with the Department for Transport were "ongoing". "It's in no one's interest to have conditions that could damage TfL, unfairly punish Londoners and the economy or the continued uncertainty of no agreement," said the spokesperson.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned of a programme of cuts to the bus, Tube and cycle networks if the funding package is inadequate.

The rail unions fear any deal will involve job losses, changes to TfL's generous pension scheme and the possible introduction of driverless Tube trains.

But Mr Shapps said it was about making sure there was a long term plan for TfL to become financially stable again.

"We have gone as far as we possibly can on this we're patiently answering questions and trying to be as helpful as possible with TfL. "Taxpayers will want to know the £5bn we put in was good value for money," Mr Shapps added.

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