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Mike Woodin
Livingstone has "floated the idea"
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Thursday, 16 March, 2000, 12:26 GMT
Livingstone 'to turn to Greens'

Ken Livingstone: Looking for support?
Independent candidate for London mayor Ken Livingstone is considering the idea of having a Green deputy, according to a leading party spokesman.

Green principal speaker Mike Woodin told the BBC on Thursday that Mr Livingstone "has floated the possibility as I understand it".

London Mayor
The news comes as a poll conducted for the Evening Standard newspaper on Tuesday and Wednesday gives Mr Livingstone a 45% lead over his rivals.

The ICM poll of 1,005 Londoners was published on Thursday and gives Mr Livingstone 61%, and Labour candidate Frank Dobson 16%.

For the Tories, Steve Norris gets 13%, while Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer takes 8%.

A Green deputy?

Since deciding to defy Labour and go it alone for the mayorality, Mr Livingstone, facing party expulsion, has been running without the backing of any substantial party machinery.

The Greens are confident that their mayoral candidate, Darren Johnson, who also heads the party list for the assembly top-up seats will be elected one way or the other.

Spelling out why Mr Livingstone may be interested in the possibility of having a green second in command, Mr Woodin said the Brent East MP would need assembly members in the new GLA who would work with him.

"He'll need a deputy, and he'll need members of the assembly, to work with," he said.

"And happily he's looked at Green policies and looked at the calibre of the candidates at the top of our list and seems to be interested in working with the Greens."

Mr Woodin was speaking as the Greens are meeting for their annual spring conference in Scarborough.

Policy differences

The single European currency will be one of the issues at the top of their agenda, and may cause strife with Mr Livingstone who supports a UK entry into the euro-zone.

Mr Woodin said the party would, "launch a major campaign together with a group called New Europe against the single currency".

"We are very keen to launch a internationalist and progressive campaign against the single currency rather than the narrow and nationalistic campaigns that there have been so far."

But Mr Livingstone and the Greens may have more common ground on transport on and environmental issues.

'Based on gossip'

However, Mr Johnson's spokeswoman, Tracy Dighton-Brown, said there had been no formal approach from Mr Livingstone.

She said: "The story I have heard, and I don't know if it is gossip or verified, is that Ken has been talking about rotating through the parties so you might have a Liberal Democrat deputy one year and a Green deputy the next year.

"It is sort of based on gossip so I think it is a bit naughty of Mike to say it.

"From our perspective we really have got to wait and see how green (Mr Livingstone's) policies are going to be."

A spokesman for Mr Livingstone has not been available for comment.

  • Reports that former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren had decided to pull out of the mayoral contest next week to support Mr Livingstone have been denied by the McLaren camp.

    But a spokesman for Mr McLaren acknowledged that he was considering whether to continue in the race.

    He said Mr McLaren was giving himself until early April, when nominations close, to decide whether to stand following Mr Livingstone's decision to run as an independent.

    He said Mr McLaren was delighted that an independent would be standing in the election, and said he may choose to stand down and "act as his conscience".

    But he added: "We have doubts as to whether (Mr Livingstone) is just another political stooge."

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    See also:

    15 Mar 00 | UK Politics
    Livingstone 'breached Commons rules'
    26 Nov 99 | UK Politics
    Livingstone remains ahead in polls
    13 Mar 00 | UK Politics
    Livingstone: I'll fight for the euro
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