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banner Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Kramer - I can stop Livingstone

Susan Kramer is catching up with Frank Dobson, the poll suggests
Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Susan Kramer has said she can triumph in May's London elections thanks to voters making her their second choice.

Ms Kramer - who said she was the only candidate who could beat independent Ken Livingstone - was launching her manifesto on the day a new opinion poll put a spring in her step by suggesting that her rating in the capital has increased.

Susan Kramer's manifesto
Rescue public transport through tube bonds issue
Reduce crime by demanding an increase in police numbers and creating 1,000 community safety constables
Revitalise communities by using planning powers to demand affordable housing and creating a network of "community banks"

Liberal Democrat London spokesman Ed Davey conceded that Mr Livingstone was likely to top the first ballot in the 4 May poll, but said Ms Kramer would eventually become London mayor when second preference votes are added up.

And the candidate made it clear that any offer of a job from Mr Livingstone should he win the contest would be swiftly rejected.

The ICM opinion poll for the London Evening Standard newspaper suggests that Mr Livingstone's support has fallen sharply with his rating dropping 12 points to 49%.

There was grim news for Labour's Frank Dobson, who the poll suggests has fallen into third place on 15% behind Tory Steve Norris on 16% - up three points.

Ms Kramer is shown to be on 12% - a rise of four points on the last opinion poll in the newspaper.

If I am in the final two - and we suspect the other person in the final two will be Ken - then I will take it

Susan Kramer

She said supporters of Mr Dobson and Mr Norris were prepared to make her their second choice - and others were going further and pledging to make her their first preference`.

She said: "If I am in the final two - and we suspect the other person in the final two will be Ken - then I will take it."

Fares frozen

Mr Davey said: "The person who comes second to Ken - as he is likely to top the ballot - needs to be the one who can trump Ken on second preferences. Susan Kramer is the only candidate who is likely to take second preferences from the other two candidates."

Ken Livngstone: Down by 12 points

Ms Kramer's manifesto puts her pledge to resist plans to part-privatise the tube and instead raise cash through bonds for improvements to the system at the centre of her campaign.

Tube fares would be frozen in real terms, Ms Kramer says, with rises pegged to inflation.

Responding to reports that Mr Livingstone is prepared to offer her and other rivals jobs in his administration if he wins the mayor poll, Ms Kramer said: "Ken has taken our policies on the funding of the tube. I guess having adopted those, now he wants to adopt me. "

She said she had not offered Mr Livingstone a position in her mayoral cabinet should she win the race, saying that was "perhaps the best indication" of she might react to an offer from him.

'Huge mayhem'

Earlier the four main mayoral candidates took part in a debate on the London Eye ferris wheel for BBC Radio 2's Jimmy Young Show on Thursday.

And Mr Livingstone attempted to repair the damage caused by his criticism of the international finance system, blaming America and not the City of London for death in the Third World.

He said: "No-one makes money in the City out of the international debt crisis.

"I see no reason why we continue to have a system where America dominates the IMF and the World Bank and WTO (World Trade Organisation) rigging the whole system not just for their own benefit but causing huge mayhem in the Third World."

Mr Dobson said the remarks on the City underlined how Mr Livingstone would have problems working with other people if he is elected mayor.

Mr Norris said: "Every person in the City will have been offended by the notion that it is capitalism that kills."

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See also:

11 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Lib Dems plan election hat trick
12 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Kramer's sporting pledge
10 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Dobson heckled at police meeting
12 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Vote for Frank, Frank, Frank, says Tony
12 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Blair backs Dobson - in person
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