Paddick gambles all on five per cent crime cut

Brian Paddick says he will not stand for re-election if he fails to cut crime by five per cent every year as London mayor.

The pledge came as the Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate launched London Liberal Democrat’s 2008 manifesto, Contract for London, at the Commonwealth Club in the capital.

Mr Paddick, a former deputy assistant commissioner who has served 30 years with the Metropolitan police, plans to personally chair the Metropolitan Police Authority if he wins the May 1st mayoral election.

He will also prioritise saving small police stations and seek to rekindle “community spirit” across London as he raises the stakes against what he says are the other leading candidates’ failures.

“Ken Livingstone has failed to deliver on his promises, Boris Johnson has failed to deliver anything while I have a proven track record of delivery,” Mr Paddick said.

The Lib Dems’ Contract for London also features plans to improve transport links in areas outside the tube network and turn the city’s 80,000 empty homes into sustainable housing.

On environmental policy, an area traditionally championed by the Lib Dems, Mr Paddick made clear the unlimited nature of his ambition by pledging to make London “the greenest capital in Europe”.

The Liberal Democrat candidate had been criticised for failing to champion environmental issues, with the Green party lobbying Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to replace him with a more environmentally-committed candidate.

Mr Paddick also said he wants to end the “cronyism” he believes has dominated incumbent Ken Livingstone’s two terms in City Hall by making the mayoral cabinet directly elected by London Assembly members.

“I will listen to Londoners and address their priorities. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again,” he added.

Polls suggest Londoners will not be choosing Mr Paddick as their next mayor, however.

An ICM poll for the Guardian published on Thursday giving the Lib Dem just ten per cent of the first-choice vote. The same poll gave Conservative candidate Boris Johnson a two-point lead over Mr Livingstone.