Evening Standard’s Mayoral Hustings Review
17 February 2016, Blog
At the Evening Standard’s first mayoral hustings on Wednesday 3rd February, passions were running high. The main drama of the evening was centred around attacks on Labour candidate Sadiq Khan. The row was sparked after each of the candidates — who also included Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat), George Galloway (Respect), Sian Berry (Green), Peter Whittle (UKIP) and Sophie Walker (Women’s Equality Party) — were asked to talk about their party leader.
Though Khan’s main rival is undoubtedly Goldsmith, it was Galloway who accused Khan of “stabbing Jeremy Corbyn in the back” in a bid to win votes. Zac Goldsmith did also weigh in, however, describing Khan as “too partisan” to work with the Government to be able to protect London’s police. Nonetheless, Khan appeared relaxed and confident throughout the hustings and was the only candidate apart from Galloway to crack any jokes.
Housing, one of the key issues of the mayoral race, also dominated the debate. Pidgeon, who has said City Hall should set up its own housing company, said the next Mayor should continue the Olympic precept on council tax to pay for a huge increase in affordable house-building. Whittle called for a “golden age” of social housing with Londoners getting priority over new homes, while Ms Berry, who rents, said: “There will be an infinite demand for our homes if you’re not controlling who buys them. They will be snapped up by investors and then they will still be charging us the same amount.”
A second Evening Standard London Mayoral Hustings is set to take place at the Guildhall on 21st April 2016 6:30-8:00pm.