MAYORAL ELECTION: Paddick 'right not to back Ken'
LEADING Lib Dems have defended Brian Paddick's decision not to recommend that his supporters back Ken Livingstone as their second choice in the London mayoral election. With Mr Livingstone fighting for his life against Tory rival Boris Johnson
LEADING Lib Dems have defended Brian Paddick's decision not to recommend that his supporters back Ken Livingstone as their second choice in the London mayoral election.
With Mr Livingstone fighting for his life against Tory rival Boris Johnson, it looks increasingly clear that the second preference votes will be crucial in deciding who leads London - with the next-best choice of Lib Dem voters likely to hold the key.
But while Lib Dems appear resigned to watch their candidate Brian Paddick finish third in the race, they appear split on why Mr Paddick decided not to recommend Mr Livingstone.
Keith Moffitt, leader of Camden Council, said: "We don't have the right to tell people what to do. We campaign for the first preference vote and it is up to them how they use their second preference. One thing for Ken is at least [if he loses] he is not going to have to honour all the impossible promises made to boroughs across London including Camden.
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"There seems to be a power tussle between Ken Livingstone and local boroughs. I hope to see the new mayor working together positively with London boroughs."
But Nick Russell, the Lib Dem candidate for Barnet and Camden, said: "I think Boris as mayor is a very worrying possibility. Brian Paddick and I are both business graduates. I don't think Boris has any of the appropriate expertise to take on a job which includes handling a budget of 10billion and thousands and thousands of employees.
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"I believe the Tory party are an exclusive party. They are all 'I'm alright Jack' and don't care about others. Labour is more inclusive and like the Lib Dems believe in improving opportunities for all especially people who weren't with them. In that sense, philosophically we have more in common with Labour, but there was no sign from Ken during the election campaign that he was willing to work with us.
"He made an alliance with the Greens. It was his battle to fight the way he chose to. He should have offered us a package.