Mayoral Election: Candidates Clash At Business Hustings

By BethPH Last edited 83 months ago
Mayoral Election: Candidates Clash At Business Hustings

A bad-tempered business hustings yesterday followed a bad-tempered Mayor's Question Time earlier in the week, with all four mayoral candidates at loggerheads over transport.

Boris Johnson in particular appears to have got out of the wrong side of bed this week; after a stroppy turn at the aforementioned MQT, he described Ken Livingstone's transport proposals as 'cretinous' and 'delusional'. Brian Paddick attempted to even the odds by squeezing in a sideswipe at Johnson over the capital's airport capacity:

"We can do that now rather than waiting 20 years for a fantasy airport to come on stream - or should that be in stream."

Green Party candidate Jenny Jones leapt into the fray, condemning any increases in air traffic as 'barking mad', 'dinosaur thinking' and 'dangerously irresponsible'. Surprisingly, all four were united in their disapproval of the rail unions' stranglehold over London's transport and in particular the tactics of the RMT's perpetually-pugnacious Bob Crow.

Despite clashing over transport issues, the four candidates appeared to be rather more in agreement over other things; even Paddick said he was going off-message from the Lib Dem line in disputing a proposed mansion tax while both Johnson and Paddick took the opportunity to snipe at Livingstone over his much-publicised tax affairs; the former in saying he would rather see a crackdown on tax avoidance and the latter in assuring the audience that he's a sole trader. Paddick's stance on the proposed financial transaction tax — that it's only viable if applied globally — mirrors prime minister David Cameron's and will have earned him some points in the business community.

MayorWatch didn't appear to think much of the event and noted that Boris's grandstanding earned him a reprimand from the Chair as well as some shushing from the audience while the Guardian commented that it wasn't very eventful and lacked detail. Perhaps the transport hustings on 5 April will be more lively.

Follow our coverage of the mayoral elections here.

Photo by richwat2011 in the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 16 March 2012