Livingstone: Alan Johnson lacks the drive a mayor needs
Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for the London mayoralty, has hit out at suggestions that he should not stand against Boris Johnson for the post next May.
The former mayor was responding to rumours that Ed Miliband might cut Mr Livingstone loose and impose the former Home Secretary Alan Johnson as candidate in the 2012 London mayoral race.
"Alan Johnson is a lovely fellow, but to do this you have to be absolutely ruthless, relentless, and driven. No one ever accused Alan of that," Mr Livingstone said.
Some on the Blairite wing of the party think that a Johnson versus Johnson election would improve Labour's chance of victory, with opinion polls suggesting that Boris Johnson still commands a majority in London's outer suburbs, which delivered him victory in 2008.
Mr Livingstone recently tried to answer questions over his age by claiming that he has "the same heart profile as an Olympic runner", although he did concede that his teeth "are shit. That's the weakness". He claims that, at the age of 66, he has the health of a 40-year-old.
Mr Livingstone lays claim to an advantage that no younger, up and coming Labour hopeful has – that after 30 years in the public eye, including eight as London Mayor and five as leader of the former Greater London Council, people know who he is.
He said: "Boris Johnson is the only Tory with a positive popularity rating. In the polls, Boris beats me by two to one on charisma and I beat him by 60-40 on competence. I think this election is going to be more about competence than the old charisma because people are going to be hurting.
"Both me and Boris have name recognition, unprompted, above 80 per cent, and if there was any other Labour candidate they would start with the problem that people don't know who they are."
A veteran of the left who has fallen out with most of Labour's leaders during his long career, Mr Livingstone went out of his way to praise Ed Miliband, whom he bracketed with Clement Attlee and John Smith as the three best post-war leaders Labour has had. He was on notoriously bad terms with Tony Blair, who tried to prevent him from running for the office of mayor, and whom he accuses of being obsessed with his media image.
He said: "Having been meeting with Ed Miliband over the past year, I have been incredibly impressed with how his confidence has grown. I was meeting him last week, and I just thought 'You are so different from a year ago'.
"He reminds me much more of John Smith than other Labour leaders. He is focused on what he believes, and he is not obsessed with the media. I think there is a real parallel.
"I think Smith would have directed the greatest Labour government since Attlee's, and I think Ed Miliband has got the potential to do that."
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...