The official campaign period for the Mayor of London election starts today.

Londoners will go to the polls in 44 days, on May 1st.

Incumbent Mayor and Labour candidate Ken Livingstone said that the election “is not Celebrity Big Brother” and referred to the terrorist attacks on the city in 2005 as indicative of the spirit of the capital.

“There is a majority in London that wants to keep moving our city forward – economically, socially, in a multicultural city and on the environment.

“If that majority votes on May 1st it will win again.

“I believe Londoners do not want to turn the clock back, they want to continue to work together to make London better in the way they have in the last eight years.

“London’s achievements are nowhere more clearly shown than those of the summer of 2005.

“We won the Olympic Games, showing London’s ambition, youth and diversity.

“We showed the world how to tackle with pride our worst moments – such as the way this city responded to the terrorist atrocity of 7th July 2005.”

He set out seven areas where he claims the choice is “clear” – Crossrail, the Tube, affordable homes, crime and policing, community relations, road safety and the environment.

Conservative candidate Boris Johnson said that if elected he will:

“focus on making our streets safer, fixing our transport system, easing the flow of traffic, improving the local environment, providing more housing that meets people’s needs and getting value for money for every pound.”

He said as London’s first Tory Mayor he would stand up to the national government and claimed the city has lost out on its share of government investment and resources.

“Ken Livingstone seems more interested in looking after his friends and cronies, fighting his own political causes and playing divisive political games,” he said.

“He spends taxpayers’ money as if it was his or Labour’s own – on trips for meetings with foreign dictators or the pet projects of his closest friends and political allies.

“I will be a champion for Londoners whether they live in the outer boroughs or the inner city and regardless of whether they were born here or chose this great city as their home.”

Lib Dem candidate for Mayor Brian Paddick pointed to the election results showing that his party has won the majority of votes cast in London by-elections since he was selected to run for Mayor in November 2007.

“The only polls that matter are the ones on polling day, and these show that the Liberal Democrats are winning across London,” he said.

“The London election is a two-horse race – between me and Boris.

“The way the voting system works means I am the only candidate who can beat Ken Livingstone.

“I have the capability and leadership to deliver real change.

“I have 30 years experience improving people’s lives and fostering trust amongst our communities.

“Londoners want a clean pair of hands they can trust running their city.”

In by-elections across London since November, the Lib Dems won 13,006 (39%) to 10,397 (31%) for the Tories and 8,315 (25%) for Labour.

Green candidate Sian Berry said:

“My pledge is to put cutting the cost of living and cutting carbon emissions at the heart of all my policies.

“My campaign will show that, done right, fighting climate change saves, not costs, money.

“London is the second most expensive city in the world, and while billions are made in the City, ordinary Londoners often struggle to pay for the basics – housing, energy and transport.

“Being Green is about believing in a fair share for everybody, so I’m determined to cut the astronomical cost of living and make a fairer, Greener London.”

Ms Berry’s key policies are free house insulation, cutting Tube bus fares, affordable housing, a London living wage, an end to airport expansion and renewable energy loans.

For a full list of candidates for Mayor of London click here.

Nominations close on 28th March.

The online poll of 1,005 Londoners conducted by YouGov and published in the Evening Standard yesterday found that 49% would vote for Boris Johnson, 37% for Ken Livingstone and 12% for Brian Paddick.

17% said they had not yet decided who to vote for.

Gay equality organisation Stonewall is hosting a hustings event with the candidates for Mayor of London on Saturday 19th April, the last such event before Londoners go to the polls on May 1st.

Mr Livingstone, Mr Paddick, Mr Johnson and Ms Berry will be taking part.

The Stonewall hustings will be held on Saturday 19th April between 11am and 12.30pm at the BFI Southbank, London.

PinkNews.co.uk is proud to be a media sponsor for this event, which is open to everyone.

In order to ensure a seat you must register here.