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The BBC's Jonathan Beale
"There are still fundamental differences, notably the tube"
 real 28k

The BBC's Norman Smith
"He is certainly trying to build bridges with his colleagues"
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Sunday, 7 May, 2000, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Ken ready for Tube battle
Ken Lvingstone
Ken Livingstone: Mayor's job to do what's best for London
The Mayor-elect of London, Ken Livingstone has warned the government he would be prepared to go to court over its plans for the London Underground.

Mr Livingstone, speaking on BBC's Breakfast With Frost, said if the government planned to push ahead with a public-private partnership for the Tube he would be prepared to seek a judicial review.

He said he was confident Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott would decide the scheme was flawed and back out of it.

Ken Livingstone
Mr Livingstone wants the Tube to remain in the public sector
"But if he doesn't you would have to consider going to a judge and saying 'Is this right?'" he said. "The mayor's job is doing what is best for London."

Mr Livingstone campaigned on a proposed bond issue to pay for urgently needed development of the Tube, in order to keep the network in the public sector.

But the government has warned that such a scheme would leave the capital with a "millstone" of debt.

'Historic first'

Mr Livingstone also outlined his plan to have as broad-based an administration as possible as he assembles his cabinet.

He has already asked Labour GLA member Nicky Gavron to be his deputy and offered the position of chairman of the police committee to Lord Harris.

Mr Livingstone said he had been assured by Prime Minister Tony Blair that there would be no pressure on Labour members not to work with his administration.

He has also offered Liberal Democrat member Lord Tope to chair the fire and civil defence committee and asked Green Party assembly member Darren Johnson to take on the environment brief.

Mr Livingstone said he had achieved "an historic first" by going to the Tory group of assembly members and explaining to them how he intended to run the executive.


Setting up an administration that is broad in this way is pretty much a first in this country

Ken Livingstone
"I said I'd be allowing each of the party groups to appoint a member of my cabinet to be there as their representative, to have a voice," he said.

Mr Livingstone believes it will be the middle of the week before people begin to accept or refuse positions in his cabinet.

"Setting up an administration that is broad in this way is pretty much a first in this country," he said. "People want to talk about the details of how it is going to work."

The mayor's office - expected to be the driving force of GLA policy - will oversee a 3.3bn budget and assume responsibility for the police, transportation, fire and emergency services.

Mr Livingstone will have a chief of staff, senior advisers and his own policy units covering all areas.

Mr Livingstone expressed his desire to return to the Labour Party saying he would much rather be the Labour candidate for Mayor when he was up for re-election in four years time.

But he also announced he would not be defending his Brent East parliamentary seat at the next general election.

"I'm not going to provoke a by-election I don't think anyone would love me for that," he added.

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