Newslinks | Charges Levelled at Mayor

Election 2008, The NewsEditor

The major story of the weekend has been the press clamour over Ken Livingstone's supposed failings as mayor, from issues as to who he has employed, to his lack of scrutiny of his officials' dealings, and to even how much and when he drinks on the job.

Firstly, the charges levelled at the Mayor in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme are listed here (we covered the story a few days ago and our article can be found here) and by ex-race advisor, Atma Singh, here.

The Mayor's office rebuts the allegations with its own press-release, here.

The commentariat appears united against Ken Livingstone on the issues raised, from the usual suspects such as The Telegraph and ConservativeHome to the normally Ken-supporting Guardian.

It is still too early to know what this actually means for the election. Ken Livingstone has a history of surviving such attacks, whilst Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick have yet to deliver a full slate of policies to offer the option for change.

None of the alleged scandals touch on the issue of transport in London, but clearly the ability of the Mayor (and his opponents) to lay out their agendas in the midst of a media scrum is affected by the current charges. As we have said time and time again, London deserves a better debate.

Ken Livingstone is currently in charge of a massive transport budget, and in CrossRail nominally heads up the largest transport project being undertaken in Britain today. If there are charges to answer about his competence and ability to lead a team, he must answer them and prove to Londoners that he deserves to continue as Mayor.