Thursday, September 27, 2007



The result was pretty conclusive, with Boris getting some 79% of the vote. Even more conclusive than the 77% that Steve Norris achieved against me last time around. Victoria Borwick came second and good for her, with an effort that improved at every hustings meeting. Andrew Boff came third with his call for greater democracy. Warwick Lightfoot came fourth after his well informed and thoughtful contributions.

A fine effort from all the candidates and I hope room can be found for their talents in Boris's Big Tent.

Now let's get stuck into Livingstone...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Result Imminent!

The long process of selecting the candidate to fight Livingstone will conclude today. It has been a ground breaking exercise in encouraging wider involvement and has certainly created more media coverage. I hope we will keep the basic process for future selections, although no doubt improvements can be made.

Following an overnight count, the result will be announced tomorrow morning at a London venue.

Then we can all get behind the candidate and move forward in our effort to place City Hall under new - and much better - management.

And don't forget - Livingstone comes to Redbridge to face the public on 25th October in the evening. You can get free tickets from .

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Graffiti on the North Circular

Roger Evans: There has been graffiti on the pedestrian footway ramp near the A406 below Elmhurst Gardens for over two weeks. Transport for London is responsible for its removal and have stated that it falls under the category of graffiti that will be removed within 28 days. Does the Mayor believe that it is acceptable for TfL to take this long?

Ken Livingstone: TfL has defined cleansing targets, once reported, as:

- Removal of offensive, obscene or racist graffiti within 24 hours.
- Removal of graffiti which is not offensive or racist incorporated into a planned programme of works, or attended to during any non routine fault repair operation within a maximum of 28 days.

This is a practical, proportional response to addressing the problems of graffiti and will ensure that TfL's financial commitment is containable.

So who decides if graffiti is 'offensive' within these terms? What criteria are considered? Perhaps I'm old fashioned or intolerant about this but in my view ALL graffiti is offensive.

(Including the 2012 'logo')

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Missing Bridge

For some time now, a footbridge over the A12 has been missing since TfL decided to remove it. Local residents want it back and have started a petition:

Roger Evans: Transport for London has taken down a footbridge over the A12 at the junction with North Street in Havering. This has led directly to a lady receiving serious injuries in trying to cross this busy road and concerned residents have launched a campaign to have the bridge replaced.

Can the Mayor assure residents that this footbridge will be replaced before its absence causes any further accidents?

Ken Livingstone: I was very concerned to hear about this accident and the serious injuries received by this lady.

The footbridge referred to was struck by an over height vehicle in 2005. It had to be removed on safety grounds. The footbridge had been in service for many years, and due to changing legislation during this time, cannot be replaced on a like for like basis. To replace it with a bridge to current standards would require land acquisition to accommodate a much larger structure. Additionally, because of the difficulties that footbridges can cause for those with mobility impairments and pushchairs, TfL's preference is to provide a signalised 'at grade' crossing at this location. a design for this is in hand and TfL aim to implement it in the next financial year. In the meantime, pedestrians are able to use an existing signalised crossing to the west of the junction.

I will be presenting the petition to TfL at a meeting in October.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Bridge at Fairlop

Roger Evans: Following the latest incident in which an over height lorry struck the bridge which carries the Central Line over Forest Road at Fairlop Station, local residents have once again expressed their concern about the potential danger to road users and tube passengers. What is being done to assess the risk posed at this location and to prevent further incidents? Will London Underground now make a commitment to fund the necessary safety improvements and to work with Redbridge Council to prevent a possible future tragedy?

Ken Livingstone: LU is satisfied that the bridge itself has been adequately strengthened and that the Tube service and track are unlikely to be impacted by any bridge strike.

(So that's all right, then).

The London Borough of Redbridge who are the responsible authority, are considering the development of a new signage scheme for lorries in the area.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gants Hill Subway Flooding

Written answers from the latest Mayor's Question Time are now available, including:

Roger Evans: The subways at Gants Hill Station have been closed at least 6 times over the last 3 months due to flooding. This has been a huge inconvenience to residents. Who is responsible for the condition of the ticket hall, subways and street level exits and what is being done to prevent further incidents of flooding?

Ken Livingstone: London Borough of Redbridge owns the subways that lead into Gants Hill ticket hall. At times of heavy rain, the water from the subways rushes into the station ticket hall and causes flooding. London Underground has approached the council several times to commission an appropriate drainage system, but without success thus far.

So over to the council...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Livingstone on Crow

At question time I raised the RMT strike, seeking assurances that TfL would have plans in place to deal with any more stoppages. I didn't get any joy, but Livingstone did have some pithy comments on the union, which featured in the Standard's 'Inside City Hall' column:

Ken Livingstone: I think the strike was more about the RMT trying to upstage the other transport unions in the hope of stealing members. The RMT executive are rather more like a protection racket than a proper trade union.

For once I agree with him...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Peoples' Question Time

Hot on the heels of Andrew, Boris, Victoria and Warwick, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone will be visiting Redbridge to answer questions along with those Assembly Members who can find their way from Tower Bridge.

The event will take place at 7.00pm on 25th October at Ilford Town Hall, in the big room this time. Once again I will be chairing the event (wonder if there's a career in this).

Although entry is free you need to obtain a ticket. You can do this online at or apply by email at . Places can also be booked by phone on 020 7983 4762.

The event will focus on policing and safety, transport, environment and the 2012 Olympics, so if you have questions here is the opportunity to get the answers from the horses mouth.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm Number Two

Yesterday the Conservative group at the Assembly elected me their deputy leader. For now I'm also retaining my business manager and transport chairman posts.

And today sees the first Mayor's Question Time following the summer break. Answers will be blogged in a few days.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The London Loop

With the Capital Ring completed I have found a new walking challenge - the London Loop. The guidebook tells me that it is around 140 miles in length (twice as long as the Ring), starting at Erith and ending at Purfleet, with the final section within my home borough of Havering.

The stages are longer than the Ring, between eight and thirteen miles, but it is all accessed by public transport. If I start now, this should be good training for the London elections next year...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Get Back To Work

As day one of the three day RMT strike continues, the mayor's office have released the text of a letter from Metronet and the PPP Administrator to Bob Crowof the RMT, which gave the assurances that the union claim to be seeking. The letter is dated 31st August and was good enough to persuade two more moderate unions to call off their action. I don't often agree with Livingstone but in this case he correctly describes the strike as 'pointless'. The letter includes the following:

We can confirm that the guarantees provided to members of the TFL Pension Fund under the Greater London Authority Act and the London Transport Pension Arrangements Order 2000, will remain and be abided to by Metronet Rail BCV, Metronet Rail SSL, the PPP administrator, and that the Metronet business will be transferred to the subsequent employer on this basis, as part of a full Scheme Rescue and ongoingly.

The effect of this is that the terms of the John Prescott letter dated 14th September 1999 still apply.

Which looks like a pretty clear reassurance, and provides for better security than most of the passengers enjoy in their employment.

The RMT should return to work and stop holding our city to ransom.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


To Phil Briscoe, who was selected last night as our candidate for the London Assembly constituency of City & East. Phil put up a strong performance in front of quite a large audience at the East Ham Conservative Club. He beat Jane Archer who also put in a very good effort and is certainly 'one to watch' for future selections.

Both Phil and Jane are hard working activists who are local to the seat. It is fair to say that City & East is quite a challenging proposition for us.

This means that the Conservative slate for the first past the post element of the London Assembly is very nearly complete. Does anyone know if any Labour or Lib Dem candidates have been selected yet?