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Comment: Mayoral candidates push for pink vote

Adam Lake April 23, 2008
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Following Saturdays LGBT hustings have one more chance to vote in our Mayor of London poll.

Five mayoral candidates faced their toughest grilling yet at the Stonewall hustings on Saturday.

The event, which was hosted by editor Tony Grew, was the last hustings event before the election on May 1st.

The candidates were all given five minutes to address the packed auditorium at the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank.

Invited to go up in the order that they accepted the invitation to come, Brian Paddick was the first to speak.

Describing himself as, “more of a naughty boy then a messiah” Mr Paddick spoke about how he turned to Stonewall for advice when the papers published kiss and tell stories about him made by a former partner.

The Liberal Democrat, formerly the countries highest ranking police officer, explained to the audience how he, “knows what levers to pull” in the Metropolitan Police to get real change.

Mr Paddick, who this week announced that he plans to marry his partner this summer, described himself as a ‘tram man’ and talked about how he would reduce crime on London Transport.

The former policeman then told the crowd that he has never had a bike in London as he , “thought it might get stolen.”

Second up was Conservative candidate Boris Johnson.

The MP for Henley and former editor burst onto the platform with a series of well received one liners.

The bookies favourite, who has been in the past accused of making homophobic comments, decided to address the more mainstream issues of crime and transport:

“When Londoners get on a bus, they don’t get on a gay bus or a lesbian bus- Londoners get on a bus” Boris blurted to the crowd.

When questioned about articles that have appeared under his name Boris defended his position, insisting that he was a supporter of London’s LGBT community. “I believe in liberty!” he announced to the crowd.

Boris showed a rare serious side to him when fellow Sian Berry asked why he voted for section 28, “I did NOT vote for section 28!” he shouted as he thumped the table.

Attracting a mixture of heckles and laughter Boris caused by far the biggest reaction with the crowd.

Sporting a rainbow striped tie it was Ken Livingstone who came next.

Mr Livingstone used much of his five minutes to attack Mr Johnson’s character. Referring to comments that Boris Johnson made about civil partnerships, Ken managed to evoke from the crowd feelings of anger towards the Tory candidate.

The current Mayor then went on to talk about climate change, referring to it as, “London’s biggest issue.” This provoked a mixed reaction from the crowd.

Lindsay German, the ‘Respect- The Left List’ candidate was next, and the first candidate to keep her speech to under five minutes.

Talking about the ‘economic inequality’ in London, Miss German pleaded for London to stop building unaffordable housing.

Formed after the Respect party split, The Left List is a left wing party that opposes the war in Iraq.

Miss German talked about how the party had a float at last years gay pride event for LGBT muslims, a move that was opposed by her former colleague George Galloway.

She went on to name Ken Livingstone as her preferred second preference choice, telling the audience that, “In my opinion Boris would be a disaster for London.”

Green party candidate Sian Berry was the last to address the room. Choosing to, unsurprisingly, talk about the environment, Sian’s speech was the least controversial.

When asked about what she would do to help London’s older generation LGBT community she said, “we all need to remember what older generations have done for us to be where we are today.”

The green party candidate also talk about her plans to put a 20mph speed limit on all of London’s roads.

The free event was fully booked and described by Boris Johnson as, “the best attended so far.”

The Mayor of London poll ends tomorrow. The final poll before the election will be the biggest indicator yet of who London’s LGBT community are going to back for the top job on May 2nd.

To vote in our final poll, which closes on Thursday 24th April 2008, click here. (You must reside in London to take part)

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

More: Mayoral Election

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