Labour members split on Mayor choice

PUBLISHED: 10:58 01 July 2010 | UPDATED: 18:04 25 August 2010

Labour politicians are still undecided about who should take on Boris Johnson in the fight to become the next Mayor of London.

Labour politicians are still undecided about who should take on Boris Johnson in the fight to become the next Mayor of London.

Ken Livingstone and Oona King started their campaign in full on Friday as they bid to become Labour's candidate for London's top job after Mr Johnson announced he will run again instead of focusing on a Westminster role.

But, Bexley's Labour politicians are still undecided about who should win the nomination, despite claiming that Mr Livingstone should have visited the borough more.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said it will be tough for a Labour candidate to beat Boris Johnson. She said: "I don't know who I will support because what seems to have happened is that the outer London boroughs have not been taken into account. I am going to wait and see which candidate addresses the issues of Bexley.

"I just want a strong candidate as Boris has committed himself to running again when people thought he would try and get back into Westminster.

"He thinks he can win again. He has a huge profile nationally and when it comes to it some people just vote for who they know. Some of the first things he did, like cancelling the Thames Gateway Bridge, affected Erith and Thamesmead."

As for the national Labour leadership challenge, Ms Pearce said that, even though she nominated Ed Balls to ensure he got into the race, she is undecided on who she wants the winner to be and will wait until seeing all the candidates together.

Former Labour parliamentary candidate for Bexleyheath and Crayford Howard Dawber, who has been a Labour member since he was 16, said he was "finding it very difficult" to choose between Livingstone and King as they are "both friends".

He added: "They both offer something different. Ken is a great man. He should have spent more time in Bexley.

"He did a lot for people in outer London, but I don't think that came across, such as getting more buses and getting safer neighbourhood teams.

"Oona offers something a bit more modern and fresher, but she does not have Ken's experience. I will make my mind up later in the summer."

Mr Dawber said that he would decide at the Labour Party Conference in September whether he would stand again as a candidate, but confirmed he was backing Ed Miliband for party leader.

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