London mayor election: Boris Johnson attacks ‘tax-dodger’ Ken Livingstone

16:48 03 March 2012

Boris Johnson wants to build the two crossings to Newham by 2021

Boris Johnson wants to build the two crossings to Newham by 2021

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Any lingering hopes the London mayoral election might be a clean contest with no cheap jibes among opponents were dashed today as Boris Johnson launched an attack on his “tax-dodging” rival Ken Livingstone.

Labour’s candidate, a critic of tax avoidance, has come under pressure in recent weeks after it emerged he had been paid, legally, through a company instead of being taxed at source.

The Mayor of London, standing again as the Conservative candidate, accused his predecessor of being a “hypocrite” as well as a “glove puppet” for trade unions as he launched his re-election campaign.

Addressing the Conservative Party spring forum, Mr Johnson said: “I’m afraid on May 3 I do see real risks for this city and this country.

“I see a risk that City Hall will be recaptured by a bunch of semi-reformed Trotskyist, car-hating, (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez-idolising, newt-fancying, tax-dodging, bank-bashing hypocrites and bendy bus fetishists.”

Mr Johnson also launched a defence of City workers, telling activists there were 600,000 employees who depended on the financial sector in London, many on “modest” incomes.

“It’s about time we stopped abusing them,” he said.

He told the packed hall he felt like a “man who has built half a bridge” and could see what needed to be done to complete his “modernisation” programme.

Setting out his election blueprint, he said: “I feel like a man who has built half a bridge, or half a cable car - a massive, privately sponsored cable car. I can see the other side. I can see what needs to be done.”

He unveiled his nine-point plan for re-election, which includes council tax freezes, job creation, putting more police on the beat and cutting Tube delays.

He also pledged to secure a better deal for London from No 10, something that has already seen the Mayor cross swords with Downing Street.

Earlier today, David Cameron urged party members to help get Mr Johnson re-elected.

The Prime Minister said: “He’s defended the economic interests of London at every turn - believe me, I know.

“He’s a brilliant Mayor of the best city on Earth so let’s make sure that Boris gets another term.

“And to anyone wondering about the best thing to say on the doorstep, I give you just two words Ken Livingstone.

“We cannot let that man back running our capital city again.”

It comes as Mr Livingstone, the former Labour mayor who is vying to take back the job, launched his Fare Deal soapbox pledging to cut fares by seven per cent by October 7.

A campaign spokesman said: “Ken’s Fare Deal fare cut is clearly shown to be the most popular policy in the election.

“As we enter the next phase of the campaign Ken will take his red soapbox with his Fare Deal message to town centres all over London, starting in the battleground of Havering.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest London politics news

Friday, October 2, 2015
Zac Goldsmith will face Sadiq Khan in the battle for London in May 2016 (Picture: PA Images)

Environmentalist Richmond Park MP and Tory girls’ dreamboy Zac Goldsmith has been picked as the Conservative Party’s candidate for London Mayor, winning the contest with 70% of the vote. Here London24 brings you some of the funniest Twitter reactions to his selection.

Monday, September 28, 2015
View from Commercial Street of how Bishopsgate goodsyard development will look

A battle for the heart of east London has now switched to City Hall in a manoeuvre to get Boris Johnson to push through the controversial Bishopsgate goodsyard development before he steps down as Mayor of London next May.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Ed Palmer, 28, is part of a group trying to spread the message on social media that many 'junior doctors' are adults a way into their career (Picture: Whittington Whatsapp Group)

We spoke to some of London’s junior doctors - essentially any medic who isn’t a consultant - to find out how people are reacting inside the NHS to the government’s plan to make doctors ‘work longer hours for less money’.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Jeremy's speech style has been both praised and vilified in recent weeks (Picture: PA Images)

It’s showtime. Jezza vs Dave commenced their first Westminster mouth-off (also known as Prime Minister’s Questions) at midday today and we are bringing you Twitter’s funniest and most enlightening reactions to the much-anticipated spectacle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Hundreds of taxi drivers descended on City Hall for a protest today (Picture: Quotax Insurance)

Today’s Mayor’s Question Time was shut down after Boris Johnson insulted protesting taxi drivers by calling them Luddites and storming out , before cabbies tried to force their way into City Hall.

Saturday, September 12, 2015
A smiling Jeremy Corbyn  (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Veteran Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour leader and Tom Watson is the new deputy leader it has been announced in the past few minutes.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Line-Up Events


You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Read more
Shop till you drop!

Here’s your chance to treat yourself to a new wardrobe and a whole lot more with this MyOffers competition to win an incredible £2,500 to spend at Primark on whatever you like!

Read more

Latest Tech News