If anyone wasn't taking Sol Campbell's bid for London Mayor seriously, they should be now: the former footballer has come up with a daring idea to help improve the tube.
Mr Campbell, who spent most of his professional career at Tottenham and Arsenal and won 73 caps for England, is hoping to be the Conservative candidate for the Mayor of London in 2016. His main opponent in the race is Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park, who officially announced his decision to run for City Hall after holding a consultation with his constituents on whether he should enter the race.
Mr Campbell appeared on LBC radio on Wednesday for a chat with presenter Beverley Turner and political editor Theo Usherwood. The politically inexperience Mr Campbell was asked by Mr Usherwood about his plan for the capital's transport network.
"With the Tube, it just needs more investment," Mr Campbell replied, in a rather generic phrase. However, he then made a rather novel suggestion, arguing that the platforms across the Underground could be lengthened, as if such a feat would be simple to do on a 150-year-old network and across all 270 stations.
"Maybe lengthening some of the platforms to get more carriages in, things like that. It just needs more investment put into it."
Mr Usherwood, clearly somewhat bemused by Mr Campbell's argument, asked the former England defender whether he regularly used the Underground.
"I’m not a regular user but I have used it," Mr Campbell replied, revealing that he last used the trains two or three weeks ago. However, Mr Campbell does not own an Oyster card because he uses his credit card. "I like walking as well," Mr Campbell chimed.
The 9 worst car crash interviews in recent politics
The 9 worst car crash interviews in recent politics
1/6 Chloe Smith on Newsnight
George Osborne was enjoying a good day as he scrapped a planned 3p rise in fuel duty in June, 2012. But then someone had the bright idea of putting Chloe Smith, a junior Treasury minister and then something of a rising star for the Tories, on Newsnight. But she was unable to convincingly answer a single question posed to her by Jeremy Paxman, even the ultimate killer blow: “Do you ever think you’re incompetent?”
2/6 Boris Johnson on Andrew Marr
Eddie Mair, standing in for Mr Marr during his stroke recovery, might have been seen as something of a soft touch in March 2013 before he destroyed the London Mayor on the BBC’s flagship Sunday current affairs show. Mair presented a series of anecdotes about the harsher side to the fluffy-seeming Mr Johnson’s rise to power and concluded: “You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?” Boris didn’t quite seem to know how to respond.
3/6 Ed Miliband on Good Morning Britain
Labour’s leader faced some slightly inevitable accusations of being “out of touch with reality” from ITV’s Susannah Reid after she surprised him with a “how much does X cost question”. This time it was during an interview on how much he knew about his much-vaunted “cost of living crisis” – and Mr Miliband underestimated the average household grocery bill per week by about a third. He admitted he was wrong – but later tried to wriggle out of the situation by claiming he was only referring to “basic groceries” not his “overall shopping bill”.
4/6 Rachel Reeves on Daily Politics
The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary got very mixed up on whether Labour were promising “a freeze or a cap” – when energy prices actually stopped rising and fell. Refusing to accept that her party had enacted a u-turn on policy, she said: “It wasn’t us who changed – it’s the world that changed.” She later couldn’t give any examples of retail prices being successfully fixed by governments – stumping for “the minimum wage – the price of labour”.
5/6 David Cameron on Gay Times
Grilled on his MEPs’ voting records on gay rights in the European Parliament, a pre-prime ministerial Mr Cameron suggested they could vote any way they liked. But he also said the right not to suffer discrimination based on sexuality was a fundamental human right – meaning it should not be subject to an open vote. The former PR man got so flustered he had to ask for the cameras to be turned off because he was getting “distracted”.
6/6 Nigel Farage on LBC
Nigel Farage’s image as a plain-speaking, not-like-that-lot-in-Westminster politician suffered one of a number of dents in May 2014, when a tense 22-minute confrontation with LBC’s James O’Brien had to be cut short by his spin doctor. Patrick O’Flynn – who is now an MEP for Ukip – had to step in when Mr Farage was repeatedly questioned on his views on race and why he would be uncomfortable if a group of Romanian nationals moved in next door to him.
There was more awkwardness to come when Mr Usherwood - clearly realising that the Tube was nor Mr Campbell's forte - asked what route the Conservative hopeful would take if he was travelling from the Emirates, the home of his former club, to City Hall.
"The best one would be London Bridge or Tower Hill...You’d go probably along Holloway Road...Piccadilly or Northern?"
Tfl says the best route would be the Piccadilly line from Arsenal to King's Cross, the Northern line to Bank, a short walk to Monument, and finally the Circle Line to Tower Hilll.
Not that Mr Campbell was perturbed by his Tube failiings.
"The trouble is when you ask these questions they are so easy to answer. These are things that are so easy to kind of learn but what London wants is people with ideas and the willpower to get things through.
"If I'm up against people who like reading the map of London Underground but then can't come up with decent ideas for people who actually need help. What way would you want?"