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Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Pig stands for London mayor

Campaigning: Winnie faces official ban
A pig that has been leading a farmer's campaign outside of the Houses of Parliament has been put forward as candidate for mayor of London.

But despite high hopes from her owners, Winnie the pig is facing the electoral chop before she can even get her campaign team out of her sty.

In a separate development on the day that nominations for London mayor closed, the godfather of punk Malcolm McLaren finally ended weeks of speculation and pulled out of the race.

Winnie, who weighs some 120kg, was put forward for the ballot by the National Pig Association in protest against the state of the national pig industry.

Her owners said that they had drawn up a "10-oink" plan for London and have been appealing for motorists to "honk for an oink" as they have passed her protest headquarters on Parliament Square in Westminster.

The nine-month-old sow arrived at the returning officer's headquarters on Monday morning in a campaign battle-trailer towed by a Robin Reliant.

But Stephen Putman, of the returning officer's staff, said: "Winnie is a bit of an unusual candidate.

"We probably can't accept her nomination as the law states candidates have to be human, and not a pig."

McLaren bows out

Meanwhile, Mr McLaren said that he was dropping out of the race out of fear of splitting the independent candidate vote.

Free thinkers have made London what it is today. This is how it should always remain.

Malcolm McLaren
In a statement, Mr McLaren said that he would remain passionately interested in how London would be run following the election on 4 May.

But despite press speculation that he would throw his campaign behind that of independent candidate Ken Livingstone, Mr McLaren would only say that he wanted an independent to have the job.

"I put myself forward as London's Mayor because I feel passionately about London," he said.

"I also believe, along with the majority of Londoners, that London's mayor should be entirely independent."

McLaren: Wants independent mayor
During his aborted campaign, Mr McLaren said that the city's mayor should actively encourage the city's creative community to make it a world centre of art, writing and music.

Turning to the race, Mr McLaren predicted that Ken Livingstone's opinion poll lead would remain unassailable.

"I hope that he will remain a true independent and fight fearlessly for London and listen to its dissenting voices," said Mr McLaren.

"Free thinkers have made London what it is today and it's artists and writers have defined it for the rest of the world. This is how it should always remain."

Would you Adam and Eve it?

Meanwhile, speculation that professional cockney songsters Chas 'n' Dave would be bringing them own unique blend of humour and music to the race have come to nought after they announced they were also quitting.
Alan Hope, head of the Monster Raving Loonyt Party
Barking: Loonies drop out
In a statement to the BBC, band spokesman Jamie Clarke said: "When they stood it was very much the case that they wanted to inject humour, character and community into the race for London mayor which they felt was lacking.

"They felt that if the office of mayor was just that of a straight forward politician that would miss the point.

"They've enjoyed the campaign and they hope that the public has had a laugh on them.

"It is with deep regret that due to over touring and international commitments that they have had to stand down."

The Monster Raving Loony Party have also decided to sit this election out, although partly leader Alan 'Howling Laud' Hope said the party will bounce back to contest the coming parliamentary by-election in Romsey.

He said the party had the funds for the 10,000 deposit but declined to take part in an election which he called "corrupt".

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See also:

02 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Livingstone expelled as ballots close
02 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Labour contemplates Livingstone victory
24 Feb 00 | UK Politics
You can't spin London - McLaren
10 Feb 00 | UK Politics
McLaren's web of wonder
16 Dec 99 | UK Politics
Punk godfather joins mayoral race
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