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13 April 2012

London mayoral race heats up

London mayoral race heats up

The race for London Mayor heated up this week as the candidates entered the final few weeks before voting day. The manifestos have been launched and between stops on the campaign trail the current mayor and his challengers are taking every opportunity to debate with their rivals and try to impress the voters. 

Next week Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Brian Paddick for the Liberal Democrats and Jenny Jones from the Green Party will take part in the church hustings. The debate takes place on Wednesday, 18 April, at St James’s Church Piccadilly 6-8pm. Doors open at 5.30pm. There’s no need to book but if you want to submit a question, use the box on the right.

The candidates will be grilled by journalist and priest George Pitcher and the debate will cover a wide range of topics from economics, homelessness and the Olympics to the candidate’s views on same-sex marriage and what the Church contributes to London.

Much of the campaign so far has been dominated by the disclosure and discussion of how much tax the candidates pay. This began with pressure mounting on Ken Livingstone over apparent measures taken to minimise how much he paid. All the candidates disclosed the information after Jenny Jones challenged them to reveal how much they earned and paid in tax during a live debate.

Previously Boris Johnson attracted attention for his outburst in a lift towards Ken Livingstone. After a radio debate in which the tax affairs of the Labour candidate came under scrutiny, Boris Johnson swore at his opponent and accused him of lying. Markedly, this does not appear to have harmed the mayor’s chances of re-election. A poll published by the Evening Standard showed a significant rise in support for Johnson in those surveyed after the confrontation.

Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, commented ahead of the debate: “In a time when debate is often just a shouting match and political thinking is poor, it's important that the candidates show how they are going to model a more thoughtful and civil way of doing politics. Good leadership is about vision and character - and this is what London needs from a mayor. At the church hustings we’re calling on the candidates to set out their vision for a better and fairer London.”

The church hustings comes on the final day for registering to vote. For more information about how to register by 18 April in order to cast your vote for mayor visit About my vote.