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Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK


UK Politics

Livingstone's Net pledges for London

Ken Livingstone's campaign card is available on his new Website

Londoners will enjoy comprehensive freedom of information on all matters to do with the new Greater London Authority and London mayor, under plans unveiled by mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone.

Mr Livingstone launched his mayoral campaign on Tuesday with a pledge to be an "open government mayor".


[ image: Ken Livingstone's proposals for open government for London could set the pace on the issue]
Ken Livingstone's proposals for open government for London could set the pace on the issue
In a move that sets the pace on freedom of information, and with the government facing strong criticism from all sides over the limited nature of its own proposed legislation on the issue, the Brent East MP will pledge that Londoners will be permitted to "know everything" if he becomes their mayor.

Mr Livingstone promises the far-reaching freedom of information through his new Website, Livingstone for London.

It will include instant access to all planning applications in every London borough, all documents being considered, published or commissioned by the mayor or the Greater London Authority, as well as access to London's main agencies such as the police and health services.

"Everyone will know everything," Mr Livingstone told BBC News Online. "The only things that won't be on the Website are personnel files and actual commercial contracts.

"We want to get to the situation where the entire organisational infrastructure of the GLA can take place on the Internet, and where all Londoners can truly use it that way."


[ image: Ken Livingstone (left) promises Londoners will know everything about their assembly]
Ken Livingstone (left) promises Londoners will know everything about their assembly
Disgruntled commuters will also be encouraged to complain directly to the mayor via the Website about Tube delays.

Mr Livingstone wants this direct link with London Underground users to be taken as much account of as the views of transport managers.

To help ensure the Internet becomes a prime way for the mayor to communicate directly with Londoners, Mr Livingstone also proposes:

  • setting up a dedicated and fully-staffed GLA "roving" Internet Unit which would help community groups set up their own Websites and e-mail facilities for their members
  • free Internet access for every Londoner through booths in libraries, town halls, job centres, schools and colleges
  • working with local education authorities to hugely boost development of Internet training in schools and colleges so that all Londoners have the skills, as well as the physical access, to genuinely make use of the free Internet facilities
  • mayoral backing for the campaign for free local telephone calls, which would allow Londoners free access to the Internet.

    Mr Livingstone has already registered the Internet domain name london-mayor.com for use by the mayor, who will be elected in May 2000.

    The launch of the MP's mayoral campaign signals a switch from the previous focus on the his right to stand, to the policies he would actually pursue as mayor of London.

    Up to now, the focus had been on the efforts by Downing Street and New Labour managers to either block the left-winger - who has consistently topped opinion polls on who should be mayor - from entering the race to win Labour's nomination, or to find a more loyalist candidate able to match his popularity.

    In his bid to become mayor Mr Livingstone has taken a tip from New Labour's campaigning techniques - he will launch his campaign with a handful of six key policy priorities which will form the centrepiece of his campaign.

    The policy priorities will later be distributed across London on a credit card-size "campaign card" - similar to the "pledge card" issued by New Labour for the 1997 general election.


    [ image: Lib Dem Susan Kramer became the first mayoral candidate of the three main political parties]
    Lib Dem Susan Kramer became the first mayoral candidate of the three main political parties
    Mr Livingstone's card will contain six policy priorities, as opposed to Labour's five "early pledges".

    "Well, Labour had five pledges on its card, but there's been so much inflation since then that I've got six policy priorities on mine," Mr Livingstone explained.

    The Liberal Democrats have already chosen Susan Kramer as their candidate. The Conservatives will announce their candidate early next month.

    Labour, however, is yet to announce exactly how it will select its candidate for mayor.

    Party managers have put back the selection timetable to choose the party's mayoral candidate a number of times. It will now not take place until after Labour's annual conference, which opens later this month.



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    Internet Links


    Livingstone for London

    Labour Party

    Stephen Norris's Website

    Trevor Phillips

    Susan Kramer's profile

    London Forum - Jeffrey Archer's Site


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