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Wednesday, September 22, 1999 Published at 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK

UK Politics

Lib Dem mayoral candidate attacks 'relic' rivals

Susan Kramer: A former banker and businesswoman,

Potential Tory and Labour candidates for mayor of London have been dismissed as relics and has-beens by the Liberal Democrat contender for the new post, Susan Kramer.

In a speech to her party's annual conference in Harrogate, Ms Kramer described the contest between ex-minister Steven Norris and Lord Archer to become the Conservatives' mayoral candidate as "a man from the past versus a man with a past".

'Time capsules'

Turning to Labour, she described former Greater London Council leader Ken Livingstone MP - the opinion poll frontrunner to be the capital's first mayor - as "Red Ken" and a "guardian of the loony left legacy of the '80s".

[ image: Lord Archer (left) and Steven Norris: Tory candidates]
Lord Archer (left) and Steven Norris: Tory candidates
Ms Kramer told the conference: "It's almost as if they've fished out specimens from one of those millennium time capsules, where relics of the century are buried and left for future generations to marvel at hundreds of years later.

"The Tories have obviously forgotten Harrogate's lesson for Norman Lamont [Tory ex-chancellor Lord Lamont] at the last election. They selected a faded has-been, under-estimated the Lib Dems and we won the seat.

"Now they're about to do the same in London."

Ms Kramer, selected as the Lib Dem candidate last month, needs to overcome a low public profile if she is to have a chance of becoming London's first directly elected mayor.

Transport improvements

Setting out her stall for London mayor, Ms Kramer, a former banker and businesswoman, pledged speedy improvements to public transport and continued public ownership of the London Underground.

But those would have to be coupled with congestion charges on lorries and cars going into central London, she said.

Ms Kramer proposed a "fair and reasonable" levy by which drivers would buy a card that enabled them to drive into the capital but which also entitled them to free tube, bus and rail travel.

"The journey will then be a simple choice of the best way to get where you want," she said.

Ms Kramer proposed a shared home ownership scheme involving community banks to help people who were unable to buy their own property in London because of soaring prices.

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