Glenda to get real on the Jerry Springer show

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The Independent Online
THIS IS a tale of two women and one city. Glenda is a glamorous former actress and politician. Susan is a businesswoman with an interest in eastern European transport.

They seem an odd couple but they share a passion for London and both want to run the city.

The battle lines have been drawn as the two women begin their bid to end the so-far male-dominated campaign for the post of Mayor of London.

Ms Jackson is determined to present the "real" Glenda, starting with an appearance alongside Welsh crooner Tom Jones on the first-ever British Jerry Springer Show in two weeks.

Springer became a household name in the United States by putting unfaithful lovers, transvestite boyfriends and dysfunctional misfits in front of the television cameras to watch them fight.

"Glenda is delighted to be on Jerry Springer's first show, as well as the obvious excitement of appearing alongside Tom Jones," said a spokesman. "We are confident that Jerry's bouncers will not be necessary unless Ken Livingstone attempts to storm the stage."

It will begin a series of public appearances and policy statements by Ms Jackson leading to the publication of a manifesto for London at next month's Labour party conference.

Ms Jackson, who was a double Oscar winning actress before becoming Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate, intends to make a key campaign theme giving all Londoners, including the homeless, women and the unemployed, access to the benefits of the capital. Her advisers believe that the party conference will be key to whether she, Ken Livingstone, Tony Banks or Trevor Phillips wins the Labour party nomination.

With perfect timing Susan Kramer, the only candidate so far selected to stand as mayor of London, has called for the race not to degenerate into a circus.

But with nine months campaigning to go, she said: "It would be very sad if this becomes a battle for the ratings. This is a really important position with really important responsibilities."

Ms Kramer, who won 62 per cent of the final vote of London Liberal Democrats to be selected on Thursday, plans to walk every high street in the capital to meet the public. "The process of walking London is a way of making sure that my understanding is really right - it's the way to make the programme a much stronger one, not just a way of winning people's votes.

"It's interesting that with the other parties, there seems to be a real emphasis on having a well-known face in the media rather than the first question being, `Is this someone who can solve the problems of London?'"

Ms Kramer, 49, a consultant on financing transport infrastructures in Europe, said she was a problem-solver and tackling London's transport problems was her priority.

"I know that we can raise the financing. Give me six months and I would have the money together to put it into the Tube system. It's entirely feasible."

Privately, Liberal Democrats point out the practical experience of their candidate compared with her rivals. "These people (Ken Livingstone, Jeffrey Archer, Glenda Jackson) are already household names and they're going to play that card. We would say they don't have a lot of other cards to play."