Ken Livingstone today sought to rally wavering Labour supporters to his cause, warning that a vote for rival Boris Johnson is “a vote for what the Tories are doing to our country and our city.”
Labour are hoping national poll leads of up to 12% will translate into victory at City Hall at next week’s Mayor and London Assembly elections.
However recent polls suggest that a sizeable number of Labour voters may not back Livingstone after his campaign became embroiled in rows over his taxes.
He has also been attacked by some Labour figures for reported comments – denied by his campaign – about older Jewish voters.
Since then a number of prominent Labour figures have written in support of Livingstone in an effort to shore up his support and last week Lord Adonis, a former Minister under Tony Blair, endorsed his promised fares cut.
Speaking at Labour HQ this morning, Mr Livingstone said the election was not about “tax bills, tears, rows in lifts, and whether or not real Londoners were actually actors in our election broadcast” but what the Mayoralty could do to improve life for Londoners.
He promised to “use all of the powers of the Mayor’s office” to lessen the impact of the Government’s cuts and the UK’s economic woes.
During his speech Livingstone also praised the policies of Gordon Brown’s government saying once the recession arrived Labour “protected viable businesses, helped them keep people in work, created new jobs, and bolstered family finances of the most hard-pressed.”
He added: “And we did all that we could to prevent the repossessions which was the hallmark of the Tory recession of the early 1990s. We stood up for the majority on low and middle incomes – and did all we could to see them through difficult times.”
Speaking to MayorWatch Mr Livingstone denied he was hiding behind the Labour brand in the hope of picking up support from sections of the party who would rather not back him.
He said: “The Labour party is solidly behind me, I’ve never known an election like this. At the past two elections there was always tensions between my team and the Labour machine because I was seen as more radical.
“This has been a seamless election. There are no differences between me and Ed Miliband, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure we get a Labour government and one way of ensuring that is showing here in London how Labour values will work.”
Candidates for Mayor include Jenny Jones (Green party), Ken Livingstone (Labour), Lawrence Webb (UKIP) Boris Johnson (Conservative) and Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat). A full list of candidates can be found here.