Ken’s tram pledge

PUBLISHED: 17:20 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:05 12 August 2010

DEFEATED mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has vowed to revive plans for a £70 million tram link if he is re-elected in May 2012

DEFEATED mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has vowed to revive plans for a £70 million tram link if he is re-elected in May 2012.

In an interview with the Times on Monday, the former Mayor of London claims he did not ignore Bromley and Bexley, and promised he would reinstate the Crystal Palace tram project within one week should he win.

Current Mayor Boris Johnson scrapped the plans in November last year blaming a budget deficit left by his predecessor.

Mr Livingstone said: "The biggest damage to this corner of London was the cancelling of the trams. That would have been a huge benefit. With the development of the east London line, a lot more people from Crystal Palace should have been able to get there. If I'm re-elected I promise within the first week to get the tram back. £70 million is just about the cheapest transport scheme you can get."

Mr Livingstone vowed to stand again whether he is backed by Labour or not. Bromley and Bexley boosted Mr Johnson to victory in May last year, with a massive 90,000 votes from the two boroughs. Asked what message he had for voters from the Conservative strongholds, Mr Livingstone said: "People often make a mistake in this life but they learn from them. They made a mistake. But even if Bromley doesn't vote for me I'll still build the tram at Crystal Palace."

The former Mayor met with the Times in Penge on Monday before going to speak at a Labour dinner in Crystal Palace.

Asked when the last time he was in Penge he said: "I don't know. I'm in a different part of London every day. I don't keep a diary. I didn't ignore Bromley or Bexley. I came here quite frequently on official business and otherwise."

He also revealed exclusively to the Times that he disagreed with his friend Sir Ian Blair, former Met chief who earlier that day said the police had "not necessarily" been racist when investigating the murder of Stephen Lawrence who was killed in Eltham in 1993.

He said: "There has been a long history in the Met that middle class people have got and will get a better level of service. Sir Ian said it had been working class crime. I don't agree with what Ian said. There was an added dimension of race."

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