City Mayors reports on local election news from around the world



FRONT PAGE
SiteSearch
About us
Directories


City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa | Events |


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa are competing for the annual World Mayor Award. More


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world and questions them about their achievements, policies and aims. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


City Mayors invites readers to write short stories about people in cities around the world. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More

London elections May 2008
Edited by Andrew Stevens

NEWS SECTIONS: World news | Election news | News from Europe | News from North America | News from Latin America | News from Asia and Australia | News from Africa | Urban events | NEWS SPECIALS: The 2010 Love Parade tragedy | Local elections in England & Wales 2008 | London elections 2008 | Latest news story | London and Glasgow terrorist attacks 2007 |

London elected a new mayor and city council on 1 May 2008. Ken Livingstone, the incumbent mayor, stood for the Labour Party. London’s Conservative Party nominated the parliamentarian Boris Johnson as its candidate, while former deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Brian Paddick contested the election for the Liberal Democrats. Sian Berry stood for the Green Party. there were also some candidates from smaller parties. Full list of candidates

In addition to choosing a mayor, Londoners also elected a new city council (the London Assembly). The London Assembly consists of 25 Members of which 11 represent the whole city while 14 are constituency-based. Up to four London boroughs make up a constituency.



Boris Johnson elected
new mayor of London

London, 3 May 2008:
The two term London mayor Ken Livingstone has crashed out of office at the hands of the Conservative Party, whose candidate Boris Johnson was able to secure victory after a bitterly fought campaign in results announced at midnight on May 2. Johnson was not able to secure outright victory in the first round however, but gained a comfortable lead over Livingstone once second preference votes were taken into account.  In the London Assembly, the far right British National Party gained their first ever seat.

In the first round Boris Johnson led with 1,043,761 votes against Livingstone's 893,877, which saw an aggregate total of 1,168,738 votes once second preferences were taken into account. Livingstone's final tally was 1,028,966 votes after second preference transfers. Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick ranked third with 236,685 votes. The Green Party's Sian Paddick ranked fourth, followed by the British National Party's Richard Barnbrook. The remaining order of minor candidates was Alan Craig (Christian Choice), Gerard Batten (UK Independence Party), Lindsey German (Left List), Matt O'Connor (English Democrats) and Winston McKenzie (Independent).
 
Following the elections to the London Assembly, the Conservatives gained two seats (now on 11 members), the Labour Party gained one (now on nine), the Liberal Democrats lost two (now on three) and the Green Party retained their two list seats.  While the right wing One London party (a splinter of the UK Independence Party) lost their two seats, the British National Party mayoral candidate Richard Barnbrook was elected to the Assembly, becoming the most prominent elected politician for the far right in the UK.

In his speech at the results, the outgoing mayor gave an upbeat assessment of his eight years in office and paid tributes to the public servants who "restored public services" to the capital after 14 years of no city-wide government. However, in addition to Labour's nationwide woes in the May 1st elections, Livingstone's previous good standing in the capital was steadily eroded by his insouciance to concerns over the conduct of his advisers and his tumultuous relationship with the media in the final months of his term of office.

The final newspaper endorsement of the campaign surprised many as The Independent urged its readers to vote for Green Party candidate Sian Berry and give their second preference to Livingstone. Britain's other liberal broadsheet The Guardian had earlier urged readers to vote Livingstone, "with all the caveats", an allusion to many Labour supporters' misgivings about the mayor's record. The Financial Times refused to endorse any candidate in the end, having speculated for weeks about doing so.

The Times broke with recent tradition and urged its readers to vote for the Conservative Boris Johnson, as did its Rupert Murdoch-owned sister paper, The Sun tabloid. The Sun's enmity towards Livingstone is well-documented but the papers' endorsements are seen as a shift in British politics away from Murdoch's previous support for the Labour Party towards David Cameron's Conservatives.

The Daily Telegraph's resounding support for Johnson was always taken for granted, giving his stints as a reporter and columnist for the paper on which he made his name. Similarly, the London Evening Standard's eve of poll endorsement surprised no one. The paper enthusiastically backed Livingstone in 2000 and 2004 but ran a series of damaging articles throughout the 2008 campaign alleging widespread cronyism and corruption at City Hall under his watch. Many would argue that the relationship between mayor and local press organ soured after his altercation with one of its reporters in 2005, for which he was briefly suspended from office. But the sheer gusto of its recent co-option as the de facto propaganda arm of the Johnson campaign earned it the nickname the 'Evening Boris'. (Election results from across England and Wales)

Paris and Berlin mayors back
Ken Livingstone’s re-election

London, 27 April 2008: Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë has lent his support to Ken Livingstone's re-election effort for a third term as London mayor. The socialist mayors appeared at a joint press conference in London where the recently re-elected Delanoë paid tribute to his counterpart's work on homelessness and said that: "It is important for Europe that London should maintain its position as a leader working with European cities."

Delanoë argued to reporters that "the team" of mayors in Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Lisbon needed Ken to be re-elected on 1 May 2008. "We have got together as Mayors of world cities to ensure we tackle climate change. Ken has made a great commitment to this."

Repeating Livingstone's claim at the briefing that Conservative Boris Johnson would weaken London's international standing as the "unchallenged king of Europhobic columns and remarks", the Paris mayor ended in saying that "'It would be dangerous for Europe if London had a mayor who had been supported by the far right."

A briefing circulated to journalists at the meeting by former Europe Minister Denis MacShane MP pointed out that Livingstone had campaigned for Delanoë in Paris in 2001, when many had thought a gay socialist stood no chance of being elected as leader of the French capital.

Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit also sent a message to the meeting, praising Livingstone for "breaking new ground with radical policies to improve public transport and protect the environment in London". He was also backed by mayors Gavin Newsom and David Miller of San Francisco and Toronto.

London mayor recruits
Tony Blair to his team

London, 25 April 2008:
An unlikely adviser has emerged among the campaign to re-elect Ken Livingstone as London mayor, former British prime minister Tony Blair. Eyebrows were raised at the disclosure that Blair, currently a peace envoy to the Middle East, was advising Livingstone in his re-election effort, not least as Blair vetoed his candidacy for mayor in 2000. Livingstone's campaign chief, London minister Tessa Jowell MP, described Blair as "the best in the business" as an electoral strategist.

Blair, who once claimed that a Livingstone mayoralty would be "a disaster for London" is thought to have counselled that the incumbent's strongest point is his ability to transcend politics and appeal to those who might not be swayed by what the parties are offering. But Livingstone must harness a bolder vision for the capital alongside his experience, Blair has argued.

The revelation, played down by Livingstone's campaign managers, comes in the final week of the campaign in which Labour has attacked the Conservative Party for restraining its candidate Boris Johnson for fear of his gaffe-prone personality eroding his slim poll lead. A constant line of attack throughout the last weeks of the campaign is that the Conservatives' hired election guru, the combative Australian Lynton Crosby, has restricted media access to their candidate and carefully selected his public appearances, a risk averse strategy based on anti-Livingstone sentiment translating into a Conservative victory.

The Johnson campaign has also seen calls to for the candidate to name his team for City Hall should he win on May 1st. So far the Conservative challenger has only named Barclays bank chief Bob Diamond as head of a fund to alleviate poverty through donations by financial institutions, though he has made some vague suggestions that he might retain the top team at Transport for London in their roles overseeing London's public transport. Two time Conservative mayoral candidate Steve Norris has made it publicly known that he would be willing to head up the London Development Agency in the event of a Johnson win.

All bets off in race
for London mayor

London, 22 April 2008:
The race for London mayor appears to be edging towards a photo finish between incumbent Ken Livingstone and challenger Boris Johnson, with opinion polls showing the candidates as neck and neck with less than a fortnight left before Londoners go to the polls on May 1st. With some polls indicating that Livingstone has edged ahead by the narrowest of margins following Johnson's early lead in the campaign, second preference votes among supporters of third-placed candidate Brian Paddick will be more crucial than ever in determining whether or not the mayor can secure a third term.
 
While Paddick has said he has decided who to vote for as second preference, it will not be Livingstone or Johnson, much to their camps' dismay. The former police chief is currently languishing on nine per cent in the polls, though the Liberal Democrats' second preference votes will now prove more decisive than in any previous mayoral election. The candidates clashed over the weekend at an event organised by homosexual equality campaign Stonewall, with the Livingstone campaign drawing attention to past remarks by Johnson, which denigrated same-sex unions and an equal age of consent.

London candidates hire
foreign media advisers

London, 14 April 2008:
London mayor Ken Livingstone's principal opponent Boris Johnson has attacked the mayor's pact with the Green Party, calling on the Labour mayor to abandon the deal reached with Sian Berry, its candidate. The pact, for the two parties' supporters to utilise their second preference votes in favour of each other, was announced last month and applauds their "common policies". The Johnson campaign drew attention to sections of Berry's manifesto, which supports the legalisation of cannabis and ecstasy, urging the mayor to denounce her.

The Greens' advocacy of decriminalising recreational drugs is well-documented and no secret. This intervention therefore resembles earlier negative campaigning strategies pioneered in Australia by Johnson's campaign guru, Lynton Crosby. Johnson was on record recently as having tried drugs in his teens, but such frank admissions no longer carry the same damaging effect in British politics as they once did. The hope will be that by drawing attention to the "dangerous and reckless" parts of the Greens' manifesto, it can portray Livingstone as weak on crime and also drive a wedge between him and his own party, who generally take a uncompromising line on drugs use.

In addition to Crosby's presence in the British capital during the race, Livingstone also announced this weekend that his campaign has drafted in the American internet consultants behind Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential ticket. Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick has also hired a US web consultant, who was behind Howard Dean's high profile internet-based campaign for the 2004 Democratic nomination.

London mayor again ahead
of his electoral challengers

London, 10 April 2008:
As the London mayoral campaign enters its final three weeks, incumbent Ken Livingstone appears to have narrowed the gap and overtaken his principal opponent Boris Johnson, having proposed some eye-catching third term policies on rail transport this week.  But his opponents still claim that questions remain to be answered over campaign funding and ethics.

Polling by Ipsos-Mori shows the mayor on 41% to Boris Johnson's 40% among respondents who indicated a likeliness to vote (48% overall).  Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick remains struggling on 11% according to the poll, with Green Sian Berry on just 5%.  Earlier this week the Livingstone campaign made a formal complaint to polling regulator the British Market Research Council over internet pollster YouGov's "fundamentally flawed" methodology.  YouGov polls have consistently showed Livingstone to be at least 10 points behind Johnson.

Livingstone also pledged to seek control of the capital's suburban railway network, privatised in the 1990s.  The British government has transferred some lines to the mayor's control in recent years and Livingstone pledged to seek integration between overground and underground services across the capital in his third term.

However, the Livingstone campaign faced a series of accusations in the press that his aides had accepted donations from a property developer, which remain undeclared to electoral authorities.  Brian Paddick accused Livingstone of impropriety: "We need a mayor who is completely transparent in the way he conducts himself, a mayor who can be trusted to tell the truth."

Accountability and ethics were central to Boris Johnson's policy launch this week.  Johnson's manifesto, Making London's Mayor More Accountable, pledges that a Conservative mayoralty will see increased checks and balances, including improved relations with the 32 London boroughs, an immediate review of City Hall finances and a mayoral cabinet of big-hitters to replace Livingstone's 'shadowy' advisers.

In spite of attacks on his probity by the Conservatives and Lib Dems, Livingstone can at least be thankful for the support of a former tormentor in chief, Peter Tatchell.  Having attacked Livingstone for most of his second term over support for radical cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the human rights campaigner said he now supported the mayor for his second preference vote. But Tatchell urged Livingstone to "reform his administration to end the favouritism, personal vendettas, sectarianism, control freakery and unsavoury alliances that have sometimes characterised City Hall."

Livingstone has also attracted the support of former BBC Director General Greg Dyke, who had previously been approached to run on a ‘joint Conservative/Lib Dem dream ticket’.

London mayoral candidate
clashes with party leader

London, 7 April 2008:
Conservative London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson has clashed against his own party's leadership with a pledge to support an amnesty for longstanding illegal immigrants. Party leader David Cameron moved quickly to reject the proposal, stressing that Johnson is "his own man" and the policy would not be taken up by a future Conservative government.

The concept of an amnesty for all long term illegal immigrants living in the UK, though successful in Spain and even called for by Republicans in the US, has not gained traction in British politics, with most of the press continuing to demand firmer controls on immigration. Though the mayor has no powers in this area, he would be able to lobby the government on such a proposal. London mayor Ken Livingstone has consistently supported an amnesty.  

Johnson's espousal of such a policy may be a tactical ploy to deflect recent allegations over race and make a pitch for Liberal Democrat second preference votes. Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick came under pressure to indicate which candidate his party's voters such give their second preference to.  Paddick rebuffed the journalists present at a press conference to launch his manifesto this morning by stating that voters should only vote with their conscience. However, Paddick's campaign slogan, 'Serious Solutions for London', may be interpreted as a jibe at his Conservative rival's signature "buffoon" image.

The government's unease over the Conservative candidate's poll lead has emerged over the weekend with an edict by Livingstone campaign manager and Minister for London Tessa Jowell that Labour politicians should not refer to their opponent as 'Boris' as such statements reinforced the challenger's genial campaign style.

Voters in London now have a dedicated website to compare their own views on a range of issues, including immigration, with that of the 10 candidates standing in the mayoral election. Vote Match www.votematch.co.uk has been developed by the London-based think tank Unlock Democracy in conjunction with a Dutch research institute to inform voter choice and stimulate higher turnout.

Race row casts shadow
over London elections

London, 3 April 2008:
The Ken Livingstone campaign has sought to intensify the race row underlying the London mayoral elections by drawing attention to his principal challenger Boris Johnson's use of "prejudiced" language during his career as a journalist. The remarks, often attributed to Johnson, of Africans being "picanninies" with "watermelon smiles" were again mentioned in a statement by Livingstone on Martin Luther Jr's birthday at a ceremony in London's Royal Festival Hall. Livingstone hailed the "hugely inspirational figure" in the presence of his son, Martin Luther King III.

The row concerns remarks made by Taki Theodoracopulos, a columnist on The Spectator magazine under which Johnson made his name as a media figure while editor. Writing as Taki, the self-styled Greek playboy columnist was roundly criticised for his use of crude racist slurs in articles which accused Caribbeans of "multiplying like flies" and black basketball players of having "arms hanging below their knees and tongues sticking out". Johnson repeatedly defended the controversial columnist during his tenure as editor. While the remarks were reprinted by the black weekly New Nation newspaper, the Labour campaign's reference to them underscores its seriousness in painting the Conservative frontrunner as an extremist figure unfit to govern the capital.
 
Both Ken Livingstone and Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick slated the second preference vote endorsement offered to Johnson by the far-right British National Party recently: "Clearly the BNP have recognised Boris's talent for causing offence and creating division." said Paddick.

Final list of London mayoral
contenders reduced to ten

London, 30 March 2008:
London Elects, the electoral authority for the 2008 elections for London's mayor and assembly, have confirmed that 10 candidates have registered to contest the May 1 election for mayor. However, ahead of the nomination deadline, the London Green Party delivered an open letter to the centrist Liberal Democrats party headquarters, inviting them to drop their "anti-environment, pro-privatisation posturing" candidate Brian Paddick, in favour of Green Sian Berry.

Citing Paddick's proposals to scrap the Low Emission Zone and privatise the tube, former deputy mayor Jenny Jones said: "Liberal Democrat voters have been placed in the unenviable position of being asked to vote for a Conservative with a yellow rosette, and most will now find themselves politically closer to the Green candidate than their own."

As the close of nominations beckoned, the anti-EU pro-flat tax One London party announced their withdrawal from the election, citing a "media blackout" of minor parties making it hard to campaign. The Abolish the Congestion Charge party candidate Chris Prior also confirmed his withdrawal from the race for largely the same reasons. Both parties will contest the at large list section of the elections for the London Assembly however. Voters could be forgiven for being confused as a myriad of rival far left and far right parties are contesting the at large list and constituency sections of the assembly elections.

Contrary to announcements made previously, Time Out editor Michael Hodges will not contest the mayoral election, nor will Dennis Delderfield (New Britain) or John Flunder (Senior Citizens Party). The £20,000 cost of registration and official publicity, as well as the 330 signatures required from all 33 London local authority areas have effectively lowered the number of contenders.

With the final phase of the campaign now underway, the battleground may be shifting to crime, with frontrunner and bookies' favourite Boris Johnson to appear alongside Conservative party leader David Cameron on a North London housing estate on Monday to discuss tackling gang culture and knife crime. Ken Livingstone will also launch his housing manifesto in East London on Monday.

London business accuses
frontrunners of dogmatism

London, 26 March 2008:
London's business leaders have attacked the frontrunners in the May mayoral election for their "dogmatic" opposition to airport expansion in the capital.  London First, the body representing the capital's business community, evaluated the main candidates' manifestos and found glaring gaps on transport, the environment and housing.  The body singled out Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick in particular for having no clear policies on revitalising the West End shopping district or handling the regeneration legacy of the 2012 Olympics.

Chief executive Jo Valentine said: "London has been a victim of its own success: its rapid growth has left us with choked-up streets, unreliable and overcrowded trains and third world airports. We're not looking for grand promises from the mayoral candidates, just a sense that they will deliver."
 
The Livingstone campaign has also attacked Boris Johnson as "not up to the job" after reports in the London Evening Standard that the Conservative candidate and his advisers had held secret talks with "potential executives" from the business community to be drafted in to run the Greater London Authority in the event of his victory over the Labour mayor on 1 May.  The Labour campaign branded the plan "cynical and anti-democratic" and accused the Conservative Party of not trusting their candidate to wield power if elected.

Mayor Livingstone treats
assembly “with contempt”

London, 25 March 2008:
Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor Brian Paddick has accused incumbent socialist mayor Ken Livingstone of treating the London Assembly "with utter contempt" and called for legislative changes to the governance of the capital.

In an interview with a British local government trade journal, the former police chief said that urgent changes were needed to prevent the abuse of power by any mayor and stated that, if elected, his mayoralty would take a more collegiate approach to working with the assembly.  Paddick pledged that assembly members would perform many of the roles currently undertaken by appointed advisers, for which the Livingstone administration has been heavily criticised, not only by the media but also by some sections of his own party.

The Lib Dem candidate told the Local Government Chronicle: "I would prefer a much more democratic approach whereby assembly members led some of the mayor's policy areas." He also pledged to restore the powers of London Boroughs over planning applications in the capital, saying "it must be left to publicly elected politicians to decide." Paddick, who emerged as the party's choice after two failed bids to find a heavyweight to contest the election, is currently polling in third position behind Labour's Ken Livingstone and Conservative Boris Johnson.

Green issues divide
London front runners

London, 24 March 2008:
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has attacked Britain's civil servants over their "inertia and hostility" towards his environmental policies. Livingstone claimed in a newspaper interview that the British government is actively blocking his drive to make the capital greener, having "done everything possible to block decentralised power". The mayor's attack follows his recent pact with Green Party candidate Sian Berry, signifying his emphasis on the environment as a key dividing line between his re-election and the Conservative challenger, current frontrunner Boris Johnson.

The mayor's comments came in an interview with The Observer, a liberal newspaper, which was guest edited by environmentalist Thom Yorke, frontman of the band Radiohead. In the interview conducted by Yorke, Livingstone spoke out against civil servants for obstructing his policies on recycling and for their bias in favour of nuclear energy, which the mayor has campaigned against: "All these civil servants know that when they retire there'll be a job for them on the board of British Nuclear Fuels." Livingstone said. "They know Greenpeace isn't going to give them £40,000 a year for doing two days a week on the bloody board, and so they're covering their arse for their future, and advising ministers accordingly."

Seeking to portray Johnson as weak on the environment and an opponent of measures to mitigate climate change, not least the Kyoto Protocol, he attacked his challenger over his support for US President George W. Bush and his dismissal of the merits of wind energy.

The mayor also alluded to a possible battle, if re-elected in May, with the 32 London Boroughs over his plans to introduce a Vélib-style cycle hire scheme.  The Johnson campaign was forced to deny reports this week that it was solely campaigning in suburban boroughs and hoping for a higher turnout among its supporters there than in the more Labour-leaning centre of the capital.

Livingstone's comments follow a week in which he was praised as "inspirational" by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on the campaign trail with him as Labour's candidate for mayor. Relations between the two men have been fraught ever since Livingstone, then a Member of Parliament (MP), repeatedly called on Tony Blair to sack Brown as chancellor during the first term of the Labour government.

The mayor, then an independent, also took the Labour government and chancellor to court in 2001 under a failed bid to halt the controversial public private partnership scheme to upgrade the London Underground network - though Livingstone was later readmitted to the party and was able to take the network back under public control in 2007 following the bankruptcy of the company running the scheme.  The mayor has also threatened legal action against the government of his own party over its controversial post office closure programme.

Following Conservative claims that Livingstone is using his own civil servants at Transport for London for his re-election effort, the transit authority has retaliated by banning taxi drivers from handing out Johnson campaign materials. However, Livingstone's recent criticisms may have been timed so as to create the impression of distance between himself and the governing party, also currently trailing the Conservatives in national opinion polls.

The effect of this on the Johnson campaign has been to up the ante, such is the weight of expectation from the party, who have hired hard-hitting Australian electoral strategist Lynton Crosby and ordered their candidate to sort out his act. The party has ordered all MPs and candidates to come to the capital to put in hours on the stump for Johnson, also an MP.

Similarly, the mood among Labour MPs is that if the Conservatives deprive the party of the London mayoralty then a General Election victory in 2009 or 2010 will be within their grasp, to the detriment of many Labour-held seats and political careers.  However, the mayor's maverick tendencies and tendency to dole out criticism has largely alienated him from many likely parliamentary supporters.  One Johnson campaign staffer told a weekend newspaper that "with the polls so strong, now it is felt we'll look like incompetent idiots if we don't win."

Labour and Greens in
London election pact

London, 20 March 2008:
Labour Party candidate and incumbent Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced an election pact with Sian Berry, his Green Party rival for the post, aimed at uniting the progressive vote in the capital for the May elections.  Announcing their intention to urge supporters to use their second preference votes for each other, Livingstone and Berry said: "Tackling climate change and creating a fairer London must be at the top of any serious mayor's agenda. Boris Johnson, who supported George W. Bush in opposing the Kyoto Treaty and would scrap the CO2 charge on gas guzzlers, cannot be trusted with London's environment."

Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick, a likely beneficiary of Labour and Green second preference votes, slammed the pact saying "Anybody can exploit green issues for political purposes."

The pact follows news that a third man has been arrested as part of the Metropolitan Police's on-going investigation into fraudulent grants for community groups awarded by the mayor's London Development Agency. The man was named as a friend and business associate of former mayoral aide and key Livingstone ally Lee Jasper. A further spotlight has also been cast on Livingstone's probity following Conservative claims that the mayor has evaded his legal duty to report campaign donations to the Electoral Commission ever since he was first elected in 2000. A spokesman for the Labour Party said that all donations were made to the party for its London campaign, including the Assembly elections, rather than to the mayor himself, and this had been "checked and approved" by the Electoral Commission.

London rivals launch
election campaigns

London, 19 March 2008: Nominations opened yesterday in the third set of elections for the post of Mayor of London, to be held on 1 May. Candidates must register their validated papers and deposit of £10,000 with the capital's election authority by March 28.  Incumbent Ken Livingstone, who won election as an independent in 2000 but was re-elected on a Labour Party ticket in 2004, is likely to face at least 12 candidates, including his principal challengers Conservative Boris Johnson, Brian Paddick of the Liberal Democrats and Sian Berry of the Greens.  

Livingstone launched his campaign at the capital's Royal Festival Hall and warned supporters that "the stakes are very high". The mayor accused his Conservative challenger of playing the race card and ended his pitch to voters in saying: "If we can get it right in our big cities, humanity has a future. That's what is at stake in this election." Johnson also formally launched his campaign at London's County Hall, the former seat of government for the capital, with the news that he is now 12 percentage points ahead in the opinion polls over Livingstone.

Other declared candidates so far include Chris Prior of the Stop The Congestion Charge Party, former Fathers4Justice campaigner Matt O'Connor for the nationalist English Democrats and former Conservative Winston McKenzie standing as an independent. For the far right, the British National Party are fielding Cllr Richard Barnbrook, with two rival Eurosceptic candidates standing as United Kingdom Independence Party (Gerard Batten MEP) and One London (London Assembly Member Damien Hockney), and veteran racist Dennis Delderfield standing for the New Britain Party. On the far left, the two rival factions of the Respect Coalition are standing, with Lindsey German standing for Mayor and George Galloway MP seeking election to the London Assembly but supporting Ken Livingstone.  Cllr Alan Craig will represent the Christian Peoples Alliance.

Candidates contesting the 1 May London mayoral election:
Ken Livingstone  (Labour Party); Boris Johnson (Conservative Party); Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats); Sian Berry (Green Party); Lindsey German (Left List); Winston McKenzie (Independent); Richard Barnbrook (British National Party); Matt O’Connor (English Democrats); Alan Craig (Christian Party); Gerard Batten (UK Independence Party)




Debating chamber of the London Assembly





Boris Johnson elected new mayor of London

Paris and Berlin mayors back Ken Livingstone's re-election

London mayor recruits Tony Blair to his team

All bets off in race for London mayor

London candidates hire foreign media advisers

London mayor again ahead of his electoral challengers

London mayoral candidate clashes with party leader

Race row casts shadow over London elections

Final list of London mayoral contenders reduced to ten

London business accuses frontrunners of dogmatism

Mayor Livingstone treats assembly “with contempt”

Green issues divide London front runners

Labour and Greens in London election pact

London rivals launch election campaigns