Shortlisted Labour candidates lay out stalls

24 June 2015, Blog

It is the beginning of a mayoral race in which you would think the Labour camp has a monopoly on the debate. Despite a brief intervention in coverage by Zac Goldsmith MP, who has formally announced his candidacy for the Conservative nomination, all eyes are on Labour hopefuls as they set out their policy stalls.

Whilst the often independently-minded member of parliament for Richmond Park appears to be the biggest threat to a buoyant Labour party (at least in the capital), both Tessa Jowell and Sadiq Khan are pulling away as the two leaders in a shortlisted pack of six. Jowell has been quick to make housing the issue at the centre of her campaign. Alongside the announcement of a “housing equivalent of Transport for London”, the former Olympics Minister claims there are 5,700 acres of land owned by TfL that could be used to build 2,000 affordable homes in each of the next 20 years. Jowell has said she will give boroughs the power to heavily fine ‘buy to leave’ property owners who leave their property empty for more than six months.

Sadiq Khan this week announced that he would pedestrianise Oxford Street. Not a new concept, it is an idea mooted previously by Labour colleagues and transport gurus Lord Adonis and Christian Wolmar (the latter being one of Khan’s fellow mayoral candidates). He has suggested the policy to “create one of the world’s best public spaces”, as part of a bigger plan to tackle London’s air pollution problem. Khan has added that he would extend London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and buy only electric buses from 2018.

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