Ken Livingstone joins calls for MK to DROP THE DONS
Ken Livingstone pledged to finish the clean-up of the river Wandle, build affordable housing and slash tube fares during a visit to Colliers Wood last week.
Labour’s candidate for London’s Mayor also gave his full support to our DROP THE DONS campaign, which was raised in Parliament by MP Siobhain McDonagh earlier in the day.
The Wimbledon Guardian is calling on MK Dons FC, which was Wimbledon FC until it was relocated to Milton Keynes and rebranded, to drop the Dons nickname to respect fans of AFC Wimbledon, which returned to the Football League this season.
Hours earlier, Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh, had raised the issue in the House of Commons, calling on the Government to support our campaign and take steps to prevent similar franchise deals in which football teams leave their communities.
Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond has also backed the campaign, as has Merton and Wandsworth's current representative at City Hall, Richard Tracey (Conservative).
Mr Livingstone said: “You have my total support. Who in their right minds would leave London to go to Milton Keynes?”
As guest of honour at the Mitcham and Morden Labour Party’s campaign launch on Thursday, January 26, Mr Livingstone spoke to a packed community hall about policies including fare cuts, rent controls and crime reduction.
With 98 days left until the May 3 election, the veteran politician told the Guardian Centre, Clarendon Road, he was confident about his chances about returning to City Hall after being defeated by current Mayor, Boris Johnson, in 2008.
He said: “It’s brilliant, these two polls have finally put me ahead. The only downside to that is it’s all suddenly turned nasty.”
“I have to be honest. If this was an election to be the permanent host of Have I Got News For You, I wouldn’t stand against [Mr Johnson].
“But the simple issue is: do you want a laugh or do you want to cut your fares, get the police back on the street and start building some housing again?”
He said affordable housing is a key part of his campaign, with Mr Livingstone proposing a ten-year programme to build half a million homes in London.
He was questioned about the issue by Merton Council’s cabinet member for communities, Councillor Martin Whelton, who voiced concerns about the impact of rising living costs on “vulnerable communities.”
Ms McDonagh brought up the issue of the River Wandle, which has undergone a major cleaning operation in recent years following a toxic spill committed by Thames Water in 2007.
Mr Livingstone said: “It seems like all the time I’ve been acting in London politics we’ve been talking about improving the Wandle.
“It’s something we need to have a role in to try and drive that forward. There have been improvements but not a lot.”
Wandsworth councillor Leonie Cooper was also present as Labour’s Wandsworth and Merton candidate for the London Assembly.
She said: “I’m convinced we will have the policies across the board that will get people out and make them enthusiastic on the third of May.”