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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Frank fights his corner
by Jackie Storer
BBC News Online political staff

The man who helped lead Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight championship is preparing his next challenge - to tell a political party whose main aim is to pull the UK out of Europe to broaden its appeal.

Frank Maloney
Maloney wants to make London cleaner and safer
But boxing promoter and manager Frank Maloney believes this is exactly what the UK Independence Party (UKIP) needs to do if it is to be taken seriously by the British public.

It is a message Mr Maloney, the party's candidate for London mayor, will be sending its representatives at their annual conference in London on Friday.

He is to take the floor with about 20 other speakers, listed to include so-called "metric martyr" Andrea Schutz, who was banned from selling drinks in traditional German steins, Norfolk farmer Tony Martin, Vladimir Bukovsky, a former Soviet dissident, Dick Morris, one time advisor to Bill Clinton and Chris Woodhead, the ex-chief inspector of schools.

Order of priority

Mr Maloney, who currently manages five world champion boxers and is a staunch defender of the pound, says his point is simple.

There are more no-go areas in London than ever before. The crime rate is up in lots of boroughs ... There's no community spirit
Frank Maloney

"We need to broaden our appeal so we are not seen as a one issue party. I believe that British politics is ready now for another major party.

"A lot of voters are disillusioned with the current government and the opposition, if you can call them that, and the Liberal party - and they are looking for an alternative.

"Although we are very strong, very principled on the European issue, it cannot be the be all and end all of our issues.

"I know that is what the party is all about, but that is not the priority of most people on the street. It's probably third or fourth.

"Although we do have a full manifesto, I think we should be looking at education, law and order, taxation and the NHS."

'Tell it how it is'

It is a controversial view that will resound through UKIP, which boasts 15,000 members, an increase of 50% in the past year.

Dick Morris, former advisor to US President Bill Clinton
Dick Morris will discuss election strategy with UKIP members
Spokesman Mark Croucher argues that the party, which has more than 30 councillors and plans to use next year's European elections to argue for a complete withdrawal from the EU, is working hard to broaden its policy platform.

"The success of our policies can be gauged by the fact that several of them have been stolen by the Conservative Party and formed the basis of their 'initiatives' in Blackpool this week," he said.

Next year Peckham-born Mr Maloney will fight UKIP's corner at the London mayoral election against current incumbent Ken Livingstone, the Tories' choice of Steve Norris, the Lib Dems' Simon Hughes, Labour's Nicky Gavron and the Green's Darren Johnson.

Not only does the businessman plan to be radical in proposals to shake-up the capital - although these will not be made public until his manifesto is published in early January - he also aims to tell the truth, he says.

'Respect needed'

"I think I'll be very honest and blunt which may upset a lot of politicians like Mr Livingstone, Mr Norris and Mr Hughes.

"I'm going to be as truthful as I can - that's one of the reasons I got into it.

Frank has a long record of working tirelessly with disadvantaged communities across London, especially in the promotion of youth activities through his gyms
March Croucher
UKIP spokesman

"I believe London needs to be represented by a Londoner, a person who understands the way of London, who's spent all their life here, has worked in London, has failed and succeeded and has seen all the changes in London.

"I feel the professional politicians don't really listen to the people. They tend to talk through them and tell them what they want to hear."

In his opinion, he doesn't think Mr Livingstone has done a good job for the capital. "If anything, I think he's taken London backwards," says Mr Maloney, who joined forces with Frank Warren's Sports Network, Europe's biggest boxing promoter, three years ago.

"There are more no-go areas in London than ever before. The crime rate is up in lots of boroughs in London. There's no community spirit. There's no pride or respect in London any more.

"I want to restore that," says Mr Maloney, whose slogan is "Quicker, cleaner, safer - selling London to the world".

Mr Maloney, a grandfather of two, says he is driven by the experience of his divorced pensioner parents who live in the city.

Olympic bid

"Neither of them will come out of their houses after 9pm at night. It's just frightening the way things are going."

If he took charge of the capital, Mr Maloney says he would scrap the Greater London Authority and the London Assembly, describing them as "a waste of taxpayers' money".

Frank Maloney on walkabout
Maloney has lived and worked in London
Instead, a new body would be created with one representative from each borough to advise the mayor on issues affecting their area.

"It would be cheaper and quicker, he says.

He would campaign for another runway at Stansted Airport, which, he argues "is not used to its full capacity", yet is only 40 minutes by train from Liverpool Street.

He backs the bid to bring the Olympics to London in 2012, commenting: "It would be a big showcase for London and would lift the spirits of not just Londoners, but everyone.

Self-made man

"But I think the whole country and not just Londoners should have to pay for it."

He would not extend the congestion charge and expresses sympathy with small businesses who claim it is killing off their trade. "If I could find an alternative, I would scrap it," he says.

He would cut the number of bus lanes and one way streets to benefit car drivers.

Mr Croucher, UKIP's spokesman, said: "We are delighted to have Frank as our candidate. He is a true Londoner and does not need focus groups to tell him what is wrong - he lives with the mismanagement of London on a daily basis.

"Frank has a long record of working tirelessly with disadvantaged communities across London, especially in the promotion of youth activities through his gyms and hopes to carry this forwards when he is elected mayor.

"He has the great advantage of being neither a professional politician, nor a professional Londoner - just a self-made businessman who believes in his city and his country."

Personality

Mr Maloney, a lifelong Millwall fan, who launches his autobiography "No Baloney - A Journey from Peckham to Las Vegas" later this month, confesses that as the spotlight falls his way, he did see an image consultant.

"But what they told me I had to wear, these suits, shirts and ties, just wasn't me," he chuckles.

"I believe people want to see the personality because most people are just faces in suits."

Mr Maloney lives in Chislehurst with his second wife Tracey and their children Sophie, eight, and Libby, two. He also has a daughter Emma, 27, from his first marriage.




SEE ALSO:
'Metric' bar told to serve pints
09 Oct 02  |  England
Wembley tipped for fight rematch
16 Mar 99  |  lewis vs holyfield


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