A new fund proposed by Boris Johnson designed to encourage the City to donate money to community projects could be used to help pay for a gay and lesbian museum in London, Ken Livingstone has proposed.

Speaking at a hustings for candidates for Mayor of London organised by gay equality organisation Stonewall, the incumbent said he was always happy to steal a good idea, in this case the Mayor’s Fund proposed by his Tory opponent.

PinkNews.co.uk was media sponsor of the event, one of the best-attended hustings of the campaign.

Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick, Green party candidate Sian Berry and Respect – The Left List candidate Lindsey German also took part in the event at BFI Southbank this morning.

Mr Johnson expressed surprise that Mr Livingstone, who is seeking a third term in office and running as the Labour candidate, was so enthusiastic about his proposed Fund.

In a statement to the press yesterday Mr Livingstone said:

“Boris Johnson’s plan that our young people should have to rely on charitable handouts from the City of London for the investment they need is a throwback to the nineteenth century and would be doomed.”

Mr Johnson’s Mayor’s Fund for London is described as “a scheme designed to allow those from the City and other industries to donate into a fund which will in turn support community projects.”

Discussing the lack of progress on the establishment of a gay and lesbian museum in London, which Mr Livingstone pledged to support in 2004, the Mayor’s Fund was raised as a possible way of paying for it.

All five candidates expressed support for the museum.

Nearly 400 people attended the hustings, and the candidates discussed a diverse range of issues, from the treatment of older LGBT people to how to encourage more cycling in London.

Boris Johnson faced close questioning on his position on Section 28, which he voted against as an MP but wrote favourably about when a journalist.

He said he believes in liberty and is against the state interfering in people’s lives.

He rejected calls for him to apologise for once comparing civil partnerships to “three men and a dog” getting married.

Ken Livingstone was challenged about Lee Jasper and perceived corruption in his administration and the inequality in funding given by the Mayor to Pride London and other community events such as the St Patrick’s Day parade.

He defended his controversial decision to receive at City Hall a Muslim scholar who has called for gay people to be killed, and said that all major religions have problems with homosexuality.

Brian Paddick rejected Mr Livingstone’s comparison of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi to the Archbishop of Canterbury, calling it insulting.

Boris Johnson, when asked how many Pride events he had attended, said none, but promised to attend Pride London this year, even if he loses the Mayoral election.

Londoners will elect the Mayor and the 25-member London Assembly on May 1st.

Full list of candidates for Mayor of London:

Richard Barnbrook – British National Party

Gerard Batten – UK Independence Party

Sian Berry – Green Party

Alan Craig – Christian Peoples Alliance and Christian Party

Lindsey German – The Left List

Boris Johnson – Conservative Party

Ken Livingstone – Labour Party

Winston McKenzie – Independent

Matt O’Connor – English Democrats

Brian Paddick – Liberal Democrats.