McLaren quits mayoral race

Punk godfather Malcolm McLaren today formally pulled out of the race to be London mayor.

Mr McLaren, who had campaigned on proposals including putting bars in public libraries and 'no car days' in the city, said he did not want to weaken Ken Livingstone's chances by splitting the independent vote.

He said: "I put myself forward for London mayor because I feel passionately about London. I also believe, along with the majority of Londoners, that London's mayor should be entirely independent.

"Rather than run a planned campaign that will only split the independent vote, I have decided not to present nominations and deposit today and withdraw from the race."

He added: "London will have an independent mayor in Ken Livingstone. I hope he will remain a true independent, fighting fearlessly for London and listening to its dissenting voices.

"Free thinkers have made London what it is today and its artists and writers have defined it for the rest of the world. This is how it should always remain."

Nominations closed for the mayor and London assembly candidates at midday today. Candidates can withdraw their nominations up to noon on Thursday April 6.

However, a spokesman for the Greater London Returning Officer Rob Hughes, said that the official list of candidates would not be available today.

One reason is the 330 signatures required for the nomination forms which need verification.

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