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Saturday, October 9, 1999 Published at 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK

UK Politics

Archer pledges to fight 'Labour follies'

Lord Archer won a standing ovation for his speech

Jeffery Archer has pledged to oppose Labour's plans for London if he is elected as the capital's mayor.

In a characteristically tub-thumping speech to the Tory Party conference, Lord Archer predicted he would defeat whoever Labour chose to stand in next May's election.

"Frankly I don't give a damn who they put up together we are going to beat them," said the millionaire novelist, who was picked as the Tory candidate for mayor last week.

And he promised that once in office he would do all he could to frustrate what he termed Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's "three follies" for London.

He said he would veto the government's "expensive and impractical proposals" to introduce private finance to improve London Underground.

[ image: Lord Archer said he would boycott the planned London Assembly building]
Lord Archer said he would boycott the planned London Assembly building
"Londoners aren't going to shell out for this half-baked scheme," he said.

He rejected Labour's plans for a congestion tax as "nothing more than a wheels tax."

The new levy would penalise motorists but would do almost nothing to reduce traffic gridlock, he added.

Lord Archer also pledged that he would refuse to use the proposed new home for London government to be built on the south bank of the Thames in central London.

He dismissed the building as a £100m "glass palace for bureaucrats".

"I am not going into that new building it is just another waste of taxpayers money," he said.

"London doesn't need another tier of government reminiscent of the old GLC."

'No no-go areas'

Outlining some of his own ideas, Lord Archer said he would publish weekly crime figures for London online.

He pledged to work with the police on a crackdown on crime like that carried out by New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani

[ image: Lady Thatcher and Tory businessman Ivan Massow applaud the speech]
Lady Thatcher and Tory businessman Ivan Massow applaud the speech
"There are going to be no no-go areas in London if I am mayor," he said.

He added: "The time has come to get off the police's back and give them the support they deserve."

The former MP said he would work to "once again build up public confidence in the police."

But he added: "It will equally be the police's duty to make themselves worthy of that confidence."

Lord Archer also pledged to priority to cut air pollution, remove graffiti and litter.

He said he would outline more of his plans when published his manifesto early in the new year.

The one-time party vice chairman is traditionally a conference favourite and this year was no exception.

His rousing appeal to the party faithful was met with a standing ovation led by Tory leader William Hague and former prime minister Lady Thatcher.

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