The Labour candidate for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has said he will “work to ensure that London retains its reputation as a welcoming and safe place for lesbian and gay Londoners and visitors” if re-elected for a third term on May 1st.
He has created a gay and lesbian manifesto outlining 20 key pledges to the city’s LGBT community.
The Tory candidate Boris Johnson today revealed that he has recruited senior City figures to act as advisers on the Mayor’s Fund For London that he proposes to set up if he is elected.
The Fund would raise millions from the wealth creators in London and invest in a wide range of voluntary sector projects, including academic mentoring, competitive sport, music and drama.
During the Stonewall hustings on Saturday, Mr Livingstone said he might “steal” the idea for a Fund to encourage the City to give money to London’s poorest communities.
Among Mr Livingstone’s key pledges to the LGBT community are; bidding for the Gay Games to come to London; support for the development of the LGBT museum; continuing to support and resource Pride as a central London free event and supporting equality in housing.
“London is undoubtedly one of the great lesbian and gay capitals of the world and I want London to continue to celebrate lesbian and gay culture in all its aspects,” he said.
“For many, London is a city that allows people personal freedom to express culture and live their lives in peace and as they choose. People come here to be free.
“I made one of my first political acts as Mayor the creation of the London Partnerships Register – to assert that lesbian and gay people should be fully recognised by the state.
“I am determined to continue to use the full extent of my powers as Mayor to oppose homophobia and deliver for lesbian and gay equality.”
Mr Johnson said his Mayor’s Fund would help “hundreds of groups do not access any funding because they may be faith based or fit other criteria.
“Funding distributed by the Mayor’s Fund will be in addition to existing Government and London Development Agency funding, and every grant will detailed online to foster openness and transparency at the Fund.”
Sir Trevor Chinn, a former chairman of the RAC, AA and KwikFit, is one of the City “wise men” who have agreed to act as advisers.
“Young people are faced with a raft of choices at a tender age and we need to ensure they are given the help and support to make the right ones,” he said.
“I believe many people in this City want to help and I hope the Mayor’s Fund will be the right vehicle for channelling resources directly to the groups that can make a real and lasting difference. I am delighted to be supporting this very worthwhile project.”
In a statement to the press before the Stonewall hustings 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.”
But on Saturday he said he would be happy to steal the idea, and suggested it might be used to help fund the proposed gay and lesbian museum in the capital.
Londoners will go to the polls to elect a Mayor and the 25-member Assembly on May 1st.
A new poll for the Evening Standard published today puts Mr Johnson on 44%, Mr Livingstone on 37%, the Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick on 12%, Green candidate Sian Berry on 2% and others 3%. On second preference votes Mr Johnson leads Mr Livingstone 53% to 47%.
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.