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banner Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 23:16 GMT 00:16 UK
Livingstone faces square mile

Ken Livingstone arrived 20 minutes late
Ken Livingstone laid his mayoral agenda before London's top business leaders on Thursday night, saying "it's not a matter whether I like you or you like me".

The independent candidate was speaking at a mayoral hustings organised by London First and KMPG, attended by some of the most important names in the City.

Mr Livingstone, who arrived 20 minutes late for the meeting, said that if he was elected then business would have to work with him.

On policy, he announced that if he was elected Glenda Jackson, who also contested the Labour nomination, would front his agenda on tackling rough sleepers in London.

Dobson: Cabient secrets revealed

While Mr Livingstone was revealing who he would include in his mayoral strategy, his Labour rival Frank Dobson was disclosing Cabinet secrets.

Asked whether mayoral candidates would fight for a greater proportion of revenue going into London's finances, Mr Dobson said he had argued against regions, such as Scotland and Wales, receiving a fixed revenue.

Disclosing previously unknown Cabinet arguments, he said: "If it hadn't been for Jack Straw and myself speaking up for England, it is quiet possible the Barnett formula [which establishes how much money should go to areas of the country] would have been incorporated in the Scotland Act and the Wales Act."

In an audience of business leaders, Ken Livingstone's comments about the World Trade Organisation were always bound to come back on haunt him.

The independent mayoral candidate defended his comments that if elected mayor he would not welcome the World Trade Organisation.

Steve Norris: Most important factor is London

He said he would make sure that if the WTO came to London the leaders would have to meet with protesters. He would not support the use of "paramilitary policing" in London.

Tory candidate Steve Norris said of Mr Livingstone: "You can't just run with the hare and hunt with the hounds."

He added: "If the World Trade Organisation came to London it would be a wonderful coup for London which we should welcome with open arms."

Liberal Democrat candidate Susan Kramer said of the interview in which Mr Livingstone had made the comments: "When your guard is down people see the real you."

She said business was scared by Mr Livingstone's comments on the WTO and also remembered his days as leader of the GLC.

On the issue of the euro, Mr Norris, whose manifesto does not support entry into a single currency, was pushed on whether, as mayor, he would join it, if all the indicators supported it.

"The most important consideration of the mayor of London is London," said Mr Norris.

If business comprehensively endorsed the euro, as well as the government, he would "think it wholly unproductive for the mayor to obstruct" that although that was different from his personal view, Mr Norris added.

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | London Mayor
In the line of fire
03 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Dobson warns tube bosses
02 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Labour expels Livingstone
30 Mar 00 | London Mayor
Livingstone promises 'gay marriages'
26 Nov 99 | London Mayor
Norris narrowly wins business poll
06 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Blair to turn out for Dobson
05 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Livingstone wins business vote
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