Boris Johnson tonight warned Conservative party activists that failing to back Zac Goldsmith in the forthcoming mayoral election would leave them looking on for four years while “marxists” dismantled his legacy.
Addressing an audience in Wanstead, the outgoing mayor warned that they could be just weeks from seeing the end of Tory rule at City Hall.
A run of polls have suggested that Mr Goldsmith is up to 10 points behind Labour candidate Sadiq Khan, a placing which would see him lose when Londoners vote in just over three weeks.
Recounting his “hot” and “stifling” journey on the Central Line to get to the event, Johnson claimed Mr Khan’s promised fares freeze risked the planned delivery of new trains and signal upgrades.
“What a disaster it would be if we had a Labour administration that takes £2bn out of our transport budget so that we can’t make the investments that we need. I think it would be a catastrophe for London.”
He told his audience that the election was “going to the wire” but insisted Mr Goldsmith was still “in contention” and could win with their help.
But he warned attendees, which included some of the campaigners who helped secure his 2008 win over Ken Livingstone, that victory would need them to get behind their candidate.
To cheers, he reminded them of the “cabal…of semi-marxist, Hugo Chavez worshipping, high taxing, high spending, garden-grabbing, Chateauneuf-du-Pape swilling, bendy bus fetishists,” which he said controlled City Hall before his election as mayor.
He added: “We got them out and guess where they are now? Where are they? They’re running the Labour party. They are, they’re Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.
“Do you want on May 5th to give a boost to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party? Is that what you want? Do you want to send a signal from London that we think this guy is serious? He is the most left-wing and hopeless leader of the Labour party they have ever had.”
“And do you want London to send a message of support for a guy like Sadiq Khan who lacks judgement to such an extent that he hired a speechwriter who cast doubt on the murder of Lee Rigby?
“What sort of judgement have we got in that man, how could he possibly represent Londoners and stick up for our city?”
He said that mobilising in support of Mr Goldsmith and helping him secure victory “will stop Labour from doing what they inevitably do, and that is build high-rise, rabbit hutch homes all over the gardens of outer London.”
“I hope very much folks that you will join me in a great movement. We’ve got 28 days to do it, let’s get out there, put all our effort into getting Zac Goldsmith into City Hall. Back Zac folks and crack on.”
Mr Goldsmith told the crowd that they were in “the last furlong” of the “epic campaign” to retain the mayoralty.
He warned that if just 1,000 people in each borough who backed Mr Johnson in 2012 changed their vote, London would see Mr Khan “whack up” council tax to pay for his fares freeze and “concrete over” green spaces.
“I’m here for two reasons – to thank you, you’ve done so much in this campaign, and to beseech you to continue what you’re doing right up until May 5th.”
Speaking to MayorWatch after the event, Mr Goldsmith said he was “pleased to be campaigning partially on the back of Boris’s legacy.
“No-one leaves office having nailed every single issue, clearly, otherwise politics would be a very boring place.”
“I believe Boris has been a fantastic mayor, I believe he’s put London back on the map.
“Compare how things are now with how they were in 2008, he’s got a lot to be proud of but we’ve got new challenges, we’ve got to take it further and it makes sense that I should be campaigning side by side with him.”
Londoners will elect a new Mayor and the 25 members of the London Assembly on May 5th. Candidates for Mayor include Conservative Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, the Green party’s Sian Berry and UKIP’s Peter Whittle.