Ken Livingstone’s leadership of the Capital was endorsed earlier today by Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe at a press conference at Labour HQ.
The event forms part of a determined effort by Livingstone’s campaign to highlight that London’s “international status” has grown during his tenure and to highlight Boris Johnson’s “lack of experience” and anti-Eurpoe credentials.
Ken got events underway with a strident attack on Boris’s ‘anti-European’ stance before introducing his French counterpart.
Mayor Delanoe said London had made “a great deal of progress” under Ken and had remained “the main centre in Europe” for business.
He also observed that “London has made strides forward in the modernisation of the transport system” under his friend’s watch and predicted that London “would be weaker” under a Eurosceptic Mayor.
In the question and answer session which followed Mayor Delanoe said he had drawn inspiration from Livingstone’s administration including London’s work in tacking the plight of homelessness.
A question on the security of people using minicabs offered Ken an opportunity to highlight the licencing scheme which Transport for London operates which, he said, meant it was now “completely safe” for women in the capital to use minicabs.
A helpful member of the audience asked about Boris’s policies on knives and guns allowing Ken to repeat the charge that Boris voted against mandatory 5-year sentences for offenders (Boris says although he supports the sentences he voted against the bill as it contained other provisions he disagreed with).
On the subject of competence Ken said he was “better today” than he was at the beginning of his term as Mayor but said it was a “weakness” that the political system allowed people with no experience to enter high office.
Today’s event follows supportive comments from Mayors of other international cities have heaped praise on Livingstone.
In the past week Berlin’s Mayor Klaus Wowereit has called him “a great ambassador for London internationally” while Mayor Gavin Newson of San Francisco has said: “London has a great leader in Ken Livingstone. His willingness to take brave, forward looking decisions – such as to tackle congestion – have provided hope and inspiration to city leaders around the world.”
There’s been praise for the Mayor’s green policies from Mayor David Miller, City of Toronto who earlier this week described him as “the inspiring founder and leader of the C40 Climate Group of major international cities.”
“His vision and commitment have established London as a global leader in the fight against climate change and demonstrate how cities like ours can drive progress to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”