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Oona King to run as Labour candidate for mayoral election


BRITAINOnce one of “Blair’s Babes“, former Labour MP Oona King has thrown down the gauntlet to former Mayor Ken Livingstone with the announcement of her official bid to become Labour’s candidate to run for London mayor in 2012.

King served as the second black woman MP in Britain after Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who was elected in 1987.

Until her defeat by Respect’s George Galloway in 2005, King represented Bethnal Green and Bow in the Commons for 8 years from 1997 to 2005 under Prime Minister Tony Blair’s leadership.

In a 2007 autobiography titled “House Music: The Oona King diaries“, King details her life as an MP, including the challenges she faced after announcing her support of Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Big task looms for Boris Johnson

(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


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 .

Mayor of London Q&A answers


city-hall.jpgReuters Online invited readers to send in their questions to the four leading candidates in the Mayor of London election.

Transport and the Congestion Charge dominated your questions, but you also wanted to know about race relations.

Not another debate, please! But this one is with fluffy toys…


The three leading candidates for the post of London mayor battle it out in the “Rainbow London Mayor Debate”. Watch Boris Johnson fighting hard to convince voters he can run the show at City Hall, Ken Livingstone campaigning on key issues like the buses, while Brian Paddick is trying to get a word in edgeways…not much difference to previously televised debates….except for the outfits!


Heat is on at Reuters Newsmaker with London mayor candidates


** For full coverage of the mayoral election go to our special report **

Safer streets, better housing, more reliable transport….that’s what Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick all want for London and it’s probably what most Londoners want for their city. But what’s the big difference then between “Red Ken”, “Crazy Boris” and …”Policeman turned Politician” Brian Paddick?

That’s still hard to fathom two weeks ahead of the May 1 London mayor election. But there was an air of tetchiness and getting personal during a Reuters Newsmaker debate at Reuters headquarters in London in front of an invited audience of around 250 people.

Paddick won’t serve in a rival’s City Hall


Brian PaddickIn the first televised debate between the three main London mayoral candidates, we learned that former police chief Brian Paddick would not accept a job in a rival’s administration.

Paddick, who needs a huge swing in support to have any chance of election, has said that as mayor he would personally chair the Metropolitan Police Authority, which oversees the capital’s police.

Call him Johnson


boris1.jpgEvery time Labour ministers call the Conservative candidate for London mayor by first name alone they’ll have to pay £5 into a ‘swear box’.

“What we have to avoid is a situation where people think this election is a joke and that the future of London is not serious,” Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell told Sky News.

Choose your advisers with care


paddick1.jpgBrian Paddick criticises the suggestion that Conservative London mayor candidate Boris Johnson could run the capital as a kind of chairman supported by expert advisers.

“I think a lot of people are prepared to entertain the idea of Boris Johnson as mayor on the assumption that he will be surrounded by advisers, who will effectively run London for him,” the Liberal Democrat candidate said in an interview with Reuters.

Ken narrows the gap


kenlivingstone.jpgLast week in an interview with Reuters Ken Livingstone dismissed his rival Boris Johnson’s 12 point lead in the race for London Mayor in a YouGov poll as a quirk, resulting from its method of surveying voters over the internet.

He said a Guardian ICM poll using more traditional methods — telephoning a sample of voters — would show him in a much better position.