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Boris bamboozled by protester

PUBLISHED: 14:49 07 November 2008 | UPDATED: 11:42 12 August 2010

SONG FOR BORIS: Protester interrupts Question Time.

SONG FOR BORIS: Protester interrupts Question Time.

JUST minutes into his opening speech at people s question time, London Mayor Boris Johnson was ambushed by a guitar-wielding protester.

JUST minutes into his opening speech at people's question time, London Mayor Boris Johnson was ambushed by a guitar-wielding protester.

Mr Johnson was addressing the audience at his first Mayoral People's Question Time held at Bromley Civic Centre last night (Thursday) when the man walked to the front, turned to face the crowd and proceeded to sing 'A Song for Boris'.

An amused Mr Johnson said: "I don't mind. If you'd rather hear the song than me, I'm game" but the rebel was soon drowned out by boos from the 600-strong crowd and was promptly escorted out by police.

Later, Mr Johnson told of some promising plans for Bromley residents including the extension of the Oyster card system to all Greater London over-ground and buses by next year and 24-hour freedom passes for the elderly.

But the Mayor was caught out by The Ravensbourne School sixth-former, Christopher Price, 17, who asked when travel would be free for 16 to 18-year-olds in full-time education. Mr Johnson mistakenly replied: "It is."

The Mayor said he intended to re-phase traffic lights across the borough and plant more trees in Penge but other plans were less foolproof.

When asked by a pensioner from Crystal Palace how he would improve safety on the street, Mr Johnson replied: "Like with banks, if we believe our money is safe then it will be. If we believe our streets are safe they will be."

He added that he has put more Police Community Support Officers on Bromley buses, which he claimed was a 'major issue' for residents and that he is keen do away with the 'bureaucracy' of stop-and-account forms for officers.

He also vowed to address the issue of child poverty in Bromley and insisted that he knew nothing about possible plans to make Biggin Hill Airport a permanent base for police helicopters, adding that it "was not on his radar".

The Mayor faced a grilling from residents unhappy with plans of the London Development Agency (LDA), of which Mr Johnson is the head, to sell off land in Crystal Palace Park for housing development.

Speaking after the meeting, Crystal Palace Community Association member, Mike Warwick, said: "The whole thing was almost of comic proportions. He had some nice quips, but we are incensed that he did not answer our question.

"If he does not recognise that this is a question for him and not for Bromley council then he is even more of a buffoon than I thought before."

The Mayor and the Greater London Assembly (GLA) fielded questions on policing, environment, transport and the 2012 Olympic Games, which the GLA said would be 'better than Beijing for half the price'.

Other ideas included reinstating contra-flow in the Blackwall Tunnel, making better use of the Thames as a highway and growing food on derelict land across the capital.

* Are you the singing protester or do you know him? Call our news desk on 020 8269 7009.

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