Livingstone will use cuts to spearhead Mayoral bid

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Indy Politics

Ken Livingstone promised to put the impact of spending cuts on London at the heart of his campaign to oust Boris Johnson as he was confirmed as Labour's candidate for the mayoralty in 2012.

The next battle for City Hall will be a rerun of the contest in 2008 when Mr Johnson ousted the veteran left-winger from office.

Mr Livingstone beat off a challenge from Oona King, the former MP, for the nomination, securing 68.6 per cent support from Labour activists and trade union members.

He attacked the Coalition Government's planned spending squeeze as "little short of madness" which he warned would cause "devastating cuts to our public services, fewer jobs, and declining living standards". He insisted he would not let his old rival "wriggle out of the blame" for the impact of the cuts on the capital.

Mr Livingstone said: "Boris, your fingerprints are all over the scene of this crime. It is you and your party that damage London." He pledged to restore plans for an extension of the road traffic congestion charge zone into west London, to appoint a victims' commissioner for people hit by crime and to boost neighbourhood policing.

After two victories and one defeat, Mr Livingstone, 65, is preparing for his fourth tilt at the mayoralty.

Announcing the result, Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader, told him: "The whole of Team Labour will be backing you, Ken. I have no doubt that you will win the backing and support of communities across London as you stand up for them as they are faced by the unfairness of a Tory Government and a Tory Mayor."

Kit Malthouse, the deputy mayor for policing, said: "Choosing to exhume Ken Livingstone is a very odd decision. Granted, he is a game old boy, but we had assumed that Labour would choose the future, not the past."

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