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01 March 2012

Come and question the London mayoral candidates

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Submit your questions now in the sidebar on the right-hand side
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In May London will vote for its next mayor, and at the moment it’s neck and neck between current mayor Boris Johnson and the Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, who was mayor from 2000 to 2008.


 

 

The Evangelical Alliance, together with the London Churches Group, is hosting a hustings event a couple of weeks before the vote to help Christians find out more and make their minds up. On 18 April at St James's Piccadilly Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone and Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick will debate the issues affecting London’s Christians.

The Rt Rev Peter Wheatley, Bishop of Edmonton said: “This is a great opportunity for churches to engage with the mayoral candidates and hear them respond to our questions and concerns. It will help us make an informed and effective choice for mayor when we vote on 3 May.”

George Pitcher, former advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury and religious correspondent for the Daily Telegraph will chair the debate and there will be plenty of opportunities for the audience to put their questions to the candidates. It’s a crucial chance for Christians to show the active role they take in communities across the capital as well as challenge the candidates on what matters to them most.

Rev Lucy Winkett, rector of St James’s Piccadilly said: “We are delighted to be hosting this live debate on the issues of the day, affirming the vital contribution people of faith make to public life.”

The mayoral race is hotting up as opinion polls suggest Boris Johnson has a fight on his hands if he’s going to win another four years in the job. Both candidates have made promises about how they’ll improve services, with particular focus going to London’s transport system. Livingstone has pledged to cut the price of transport, while Johnson has suggested extensions to the underground and bringing rail services under Transport for London.

The Mayor of London is the most high profile directly elected politician in the UK, and wields considerable power on how London is run. Both Livingstone and Johnson have also used the role to lobby for national policies which will help London. The Guardian has given a fairly comprehensive run down of Boris’s activity over the past four years, while the Evening Standard frame the looming battle as James Bond versus Blofeld.

Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate will be hard-pushed to attract much attention during the campaign, and there have been some suggestions that he might struggle to repeat the third place he took in 2008. In addition to the Green Party candidate Jenny Jones there will be many other candidates from smaller parties as well as a scattering of independents who are already trying to grab a share of the vote.

Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance said: “The Church in London is growing and it’s bringing huge benefits and hope to the capital’s communities. As London votes for a leader this is a chance to see the candidates engage with Christians and encourage them to carry on that relationship when the winner takes office.”

Be sure to send us your questions for the candidates in advance by submitting them via the sidebar, and come and participate with us on 18 April.