The One London party could announce within days that it is withdrawing it’s Mayoral candidate from May’s elections, it emerged last night.
Sources within One London, which currently has two members on the London Assembly, say the party is increasingly dismayed at the paucity of media coverage it gets despite their candidate Damian Hockney having served on the Assembly for four years and being a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority.
It’s been claimed that Hockney, who recently protested at being excluded from Mayoral hustings and who has written about the difficulties facing smaller parties in securing media access, is having second thoughts about standing.
Although he refused to be drawn on the possibility of withdrawing from the race Hockney last night told MayorWatch: “We have had four years campaigning on issues we know to be of interest and have made headway, even had some good media, but we are now finding that media are saying almost apologetically that the only show in town is the Ken and Boris smear and counter smear panto. When you are told you cannot have coverage even for policy intiatives, you have to give the matter of standing a second thought.”
The party is said to be especially unhappy that their current representation on the Assembly appears to count for very little or almost nothing with broadcasters who have relegated them to ‘second tier’ coverage which ensures they get no coverage outside of what amounts to a statutory maximum number of seconds.
With mainstream media increasingly focussing on the battle between Labour’s Ken Livingstone and Tory candidate Boris Johnson smaller parties are finding it almost impossible to get access to the key media outlets.
Hockney said last night: “if coverage and guidelines focused upon issues and policy, smaller parties would be heard, turnout would be higher and voters would be more engaged. We are on course for a disastrously low turnout because as Tony Benn recently said, the voters are not fools, they want to hear about policy and are able to make rational decisions. The welter of dull puff coverage for two ‘main’ candidates simply leads to mass switch off.”
It’s understood that Hockney, who is also One London leader on the Assembly, and his team are making a decision about the Mayor elections and their Assembly strategy in the next few days.
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