Livingstone attacks Boris competence

Ken Livingstone has launched an attack on Conservative challenger Boris Johnson’s reputation for competence as the London mayoral campaign enters its final week.

Seeking a third term in office at City Hall, Mr Livingstone warned Mr Johnson had demonstrated his “lack of competence to run London” whenever he had “escaped from his minders”.

He accused Mr Johnson of having poorly funded transport plans, inconsistency on his smoking policy and lack of plans for the London Underground and Crossrail.

“The entire aim of his campaign has been to make sure he is a position where he is shielded away from the responsibility for his own statements and decisions – that is he must be kept away from exactly what would be his most fundamental role as mayor,” Mr Livingstone said.

“The very nature of the Tory campaign itself testifies to his lack of competence to do the job of Mayor of London.”

The incumbent mayor has been playing up his role in helping London beat Paris and other opponents to the 2012 Olympic Games.

At a hustings event yesterday he said he had backed the Games because he viewed it as the “only way to get the billions of pounds out of the government to develop the East End”.

“It’s exactly how I played it to ensnare the government to put money into an area it has neglected for 30 years,” he said.

Mr Livingstone’s campaign is riding on a wave of positive momentum as he has slowly eroded Mr Johnson’s strong lead in the polls in recent weeks.

A Sunday Times poll put Mr Livingstone just one point behind his rival on 44 per cent. Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick was on nine per cent.