Christian candidate for mayor launches London manifesto
Christian candidate for mayor of London Simon Hughes took to a open-top bus today to launch his manifesto for London mayor on a theme of unity.
His campaign manifesto, "For a London United", promises to pedestrianise Oxford Street by 2008 and block further expansion of the congestion charge. He also promised more anti-terrorism measures for the capital and more affordable housing.
Mr Hughes said he would instruct his advisers to look at turning 'unused urban space' above supermarkets and train stations into housing.
The Liberal Democrat MP pledged a "safer, easier and more united London" as he criticised a growing divide between rich and poor in the capital saying current mayor Ken Livingstone had divided communities and boroughs.
"My vision is Greater London, the most exciting place in Europe and the world, where we are united to making this great capital a place we are all proud to live" he said.
The launch of his manifesto follows a meeting on Sunday with Christians at a special event organised by the Faithworks campaign, and the web site church.co.uk.
On policing, Mr Hughes promises up to eight dedicated police officers in every ward by the end of his term, more CCTV on tubes and trains, and better street lighting.
Other measures in the manifesto include a full-time MI5 officer at the Greater London authority HQ to brief the mayor on anti-terrorism matters, a one-stop phone line for all London residents to inform them of help and services from the GLA and their local borough, and 10,000 extra affordable homes.
Plans to increase vigilance against terrorist attack would include the creation of an emergency volunteer reserve for the capital and the provision of more information to residents on what to do in the case of a chemical or biological incident.
Mr Hughes also proposed to extend London Underground operations to 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
"I want an easier, safer and more united London," said Mr Hughes.
"Mr Livingstone has been blind to the divides he and his government have created between the rich and poor and the inner and outer parts of London."
Today's bus route was chosen for its political significance, including stops at Millbank, to highlight the "control freak" nature of the Labour executive which expelled Ken Livingstone before readmitting him to the party; the old GLC building to point out Mr Livingstone's past record; and Southwark - the constituency Mr Hughes has represented as a MP for the past 21 years.