Two-term Boris makes accountability pledge

Boris Johnson has said he will only serve two four-year terms as mayor of London if elected on May 1st.

Incumbent Ken Livingstone is running for a third term and has loomed large over the London political scene since his dominance of the Greater London Authority in the 1980s.

Mr Johnson, the Conservative candidate and former frontbencher, believes Londoners are losing trust in the mayoralty because of Mr Livingstone’s “cronyism”.

“Mayor Livingstone’s extravagant spending on publicity, his overseas jaunts at the taxpayers’ expense, and recent questions over his closest advisers have made people believe that the mayor of London is largely unaccountable to the people that elect him,” he said.

“If elected, I will aim to restore trust in City Hall by introducing a series of measures designed to make my mayoralty more accountable, and spending more transparent.”

Pledges from his latest manifesto, Making London’s Mayor More Accountable, include ensuring accountability in crime, holding more ‘people’s question times’ and introducing new rules for mayoral advisers’ interests.

The two-term limit is being introduced to “demonstrate my commitment to accountability”, Mr Johnson added, because “leading this great city is a privilege, not a right”.

Mr Livingstone has recently come under pressure over his relationship with advisers after his equality and policing guru Lee Jasper was forced to resign over corruption claims.

The incumbent denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the “shameful campaign” against Mr Jasper.

And in last night’s TV debate on BBC2’s Newsnight programme, Mr Livingstone insisted he had not acted unlawfully during his time in public life.

“The only time I’ve ever broken the law in the last 20 years is when I moved half a dozen newts without a licence because they were in a pond and were going to starve to death,” he said.