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Oona King to run as Labour candidate for mayoral election

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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.

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.

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 .

Mayor of London Q&A answers

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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.

Heat is on at Reuters Newsmaker with London mayor candidates

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** 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.

Call him Johnson

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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.

Ken narrows the gap

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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.

The Ken and Boris show

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boris.jpgSitting at the Evening Standard’s London Mayor debate last night, it occurred to me how cosy this election is. Whoever wins the contest on May 1 will lead one of the world’s most high-profile cities with an 11.3 billion pound budget to run public transport, police and fire services and promote the economy of this global financial centre. Yet at times the candidates seem to think they are engaging in some kind of school debating contest.

First there was breathless Boris, who bounded up to the podium like a precocious teenager and raced through his speech to cram in as much as possible during his allotted eight minutes. Then a more nervous, and far less exuberant delivery from the class swot — Brian Paddick — the former policeman turned Lib Dem mayoral candidate, who delivered a serious and earnest “Why I should be head boy” speech.

Ken dismisses negative poll

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livingstone.jpgKen Livingstone talks to Tim Castle about standing for a third term as Mayor of London.

He dismisses a recent YouGov poll that shows him trailing Conservative rival Boris Johnson and says his rival candidates are all “Ken Lites” who have moved their policies closer to his.

Paddick: “Not being a politician is an advantage”

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Brian PaddickBrian Paddick talks to Tim Castle about his autobiography and his candidacy for the mayoral election in London.

He says not being a politician is a “distinct advantage” when running against Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.

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