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Olympic debt and land deal gives momentum to legacy

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OLYMPICS-LONDON/VENUES

The government has signed off a multi-million pound debt and land deal with the Mayor of London, which could have endangered parts of the 2012 Olympic legacy and threatened to turn it into an unseemly Conservative spat.

Margaret Ford, chairman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) responsible for managing the Olympic Park post-Games, had used every possible opportunity to flag up the debt issue ever since the Conservative-led coalition government said it was to review the previous Labour government’s deal.

The Treasury had agreed in March to pay 438 million pounds after much to-ing and fro-ing between central government and Boris Johnson’s office.

But the coalition, which has made reining in  a record peacetime budget deficit its top priority, said it would look at the deal. It has also told Olympic organisers responsible for the Olympic build to find 27 million pounds of savings.

Does class matter in politics?

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borisThree big speeches have been delivered at the Conservative Party conference so far — by party leader David Cameron, the mayor of London and national bumbler, Boris Johnson, and the party’s spokesman on the economy, George Osborne.

What do all three men have in common apart from their membership of the Conservative Party? They were all educated at elite public schools (Johnson and Cameron at Eton and Osborne at St Paul’s) and all went to Oxford, where they were members of the same dining and social set, the secretive and selective Bullingdon Club.

Will there ever be the “right type of snow” in Britain?

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The last time round when there was such widespread travel chaos in Britain due to snow was quite some time ago….it was in 1991 – the year the “wrong type of snow” was born – British Rail’s ill-conceived attempt to explain why the railways had come to a virtual standstill after heavy snowfall.

The “wrong type” of just about anything has since been used to explain why the country’s creaking transport system is grinding to a halt ….remember the one about the “wrong type of leaves” on the tracks?

from Davos Notebook:

London — warmer and cheaper

London is cheaper and warmer, at least compared with Davos, says London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"The fall in the pound is of huge value to London's exports and all sterling-denominated assets. We're seeing a very impressive effect here. We take advantage of the upside and the upside is that the pound is competitive," Johnson told Reuters.

How safe is your street?

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crime-map.JPGEver wanted to know how many crimes were committed in your local area?

Well, by the end of the year you’ll be able to get some idea with every police force required to produce online interactive “crime maps”.

West Midlands and West Yorkshire are two of the forces who have put information about the number of offences in different neighbourhoods on their Web sites and on Wednesday the country’s biggest force, London’s Metropolitan Police, activated its crime mapping site.

There is no substitute for me, says Boris

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boris.jpgThe resignation of another key aide to Mayor Boris Johnson has sparked renewed questions over the Mayor of London’s leadership, with opposition leaders at City Hall charging that the “wheels are coming off” his new administration.

Tim Parker , the First Deputy Mayor and Chairman of Transport for London (TfL), has stepped down from both jobs, saying it was inappropriate for him to hold them as an unelected official. His resignation is the third of a key aide in the four months of Johnson’s mayorship.

Banning booze from the tube

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tube1.jpgMayor Boris Johnson’s ban on drinking alcohol on the London underground starts on Sunday.The news hasn’t gone down well in some quarters and plenty of groups on Facebook have said they will be holding protest wakes.

Others believe the ban will have little effect on threatening behaviour on the tube anyway — most people who cause problems are drunk anyway and only a few are actually carrying cans with them, they say.

Johnson overtakes Cameron

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For the first time since he became mayor of London on May 2, Boris Johnson has overtaken Conservative leader David Cameron in “favourability”, according to an opinion tracker published on www.politicshome.com.

Johnson scored a rating of 3, up from -7 at the end of April, while Cameron got rated 1, up from -5.

Big task looms for Boris Johnson

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(Updated on May 3 with new headline, election results, reaction and photos)

**For full coverage of the elections go to our special page**

The man described by some as a joke, by others as a brilliant mind has ended Ken Livingstone’s eight-year reign at City Hall.

The verdict is still out on what exactly Boris Johnson’s victory means for the Conservative Party overall but his performance as mayor could help determine whether people will vote for the Tories in a general election next time.

Mayoral hopefuls take the Shakespeare test

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Should Shakespeare be a factor for Londoners voting for their next mayor on May 1?

The three leading mayoral candidates revealed their knowledge of the Bard on Friday in a live phone-in debate with host Vanessa Feltz on her BBC London morning radio show .

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