Old Etonian Tories take it to the streets
YOU might have thought Boris Johnson's campaign to become London mayor had started months ago, but all those appearances and interviews and constant repetitions of the word "crime' were just the warm-up act - today the Tory hopeful launches his campaign officially and has his party leader David Cameron at his side to prove it.
Party leaders don't usually like to attach themselves to losing causes, so Cameron's position shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow old-Etonian is seen as significant and follows a raft of polls giving Johnson a healthy lead over main rival, Labour's Ken Livingstone.
For the launch, the pair have chosen a community centre in Edmonton, an area more affected than most by youth crime, the main hot-button issue of the Tory campaign. Johnson and Cameron aim to meet the parents of Ofiyke Nmezu, who was murdered in the area last month.
"People want someone who is going to take a positive approach to issues like disorder and crime," said Johnson last week.
Incumbent Ken Livingstone points to figures which show that crime has fallen in his eight years as Mayor and aims to broaden the debate by attacking Johnson's populist transport policies, including a promise to bring back the iconic Routemster bus that is very unlikely to be fulfilled. Livingstone also sees Johnson as weak on major social issues such as the environment, multi-culturalism and gay rights.
The full list of candidates for the London Mayoral election on 1 May is:
Gerard Batten - UKIP
Richard Barnbrook - BNP
Sian Berry - Greens
Alan Craig - Christian Choice
Lindsey German - Left List party
Boris Johnson - Conservatives
Ken Livingstone - Labour
Winston McKenzie - Independent
Matt O'Connor - English Democrats
Brian Paddick - Liberal Democrats