Who is the Mayorest of them all?

The London Mayoral race has been plagued by spats over tax dodging, personality clashes and verbal gaffes. But who is the best Mayor for the capital's businesses? MT investigates.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The Mayoral race is hotting up: only one day to go until the big day. Boris Johnson is ahead of Ken Livingstone in the polls but there’s still all to play for. Independent Siobhan Benita has won the backing of Sir Richard Branson and Michael Portillo, while Jenny Jones has beefed up her policies to silence naysayers. And let’s not forget Brian Paddick, up for a second bite at the Mayoral cherry.

Here are the Mayoral candidates at a glance:



Political affiliation: Conservative

Tagline: Investing in London’s future

Key policies for business:

  •  To create 200,000 jobs in transport, housing and the Greenwich peninsular
  • Investing £221 million to transform local high streets, supporting small businesses.
  • Ensuring a true Olympic legacy - 11,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs.
  • Reducing Tube delays 30% by 2015. Building Crossrail and orbital rail to link our suburbs. Extending the Bike Hire scheme.
  • Securing a better deal for London from No 10.
  • Cutting waste at City Hall - freeing up £3.5bn.

What’s he’s done right: Boris Bikes. The first six months of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme saw Londoners cycle the equivalent of 353 journeys around the world’s circumference (8.8 million total miles).
What he’s done wrong: Transport fares have risen by 50% during his term as Mayor and the return of the Routemaster has proved a costly enterprise. Repeated slanging matches with former Mayor Ken Livingstone have also sullied his campaign.
In his own words: ‘I’m a Mayor who tried his absolute best to unite and bring this city together.’ Followed by some Latin.



Political affiliation: Labour

Tagline: 'I will resign if I don’t cut fares on or by 7 October'

Key policies for business:

  • Increase investment in London
  • Make the London Living Wage a condition of procurement at the Greater London Authority
  • Introduce a transport fares cut
  • Introduce a new non-profit lettings agency to cut out fees of private lettings agents and so lower rents
  • What’s he’s done right: Arguably, introducing the congestion charge improved the air and traffic quality on London streets. And the introduction of the Oyster card.

What he’s done wrong: That hideously expensive bendy bus experiment. And, when asked why women typically voted against him in the polls, responding: ‘If women had never been given the right to vote, then Labour would have won every election after the war’… Interesting argument, Ken.
In his own words: 'I want to be Mayor for one overriding reason: if I am elected my focus will be to do everything I can to protect Londoners from the recession and the effects of the Government's policies.'



Political affiliation: Liberal Democrat

Tagline: The Londoners' Mayor.

Key policies for business: 

  • To build 360,000 homes over the next decade.
  • Promote investment from abroad by ensuring London has a safe and positive image internationally
  • Lead the 'digital revolution' in London to ensure we have the technology to compete with the best in the world
  • Crackdown on rogue landlords using a Mayor's 'kitemark' for responsible renting and setting up a central unit to prosecute offenders
  • Early Bird discounts for Tube, overground rail and DLR travellers using the network before 7.30am
  • A part-timers' Travelcard using Oyster technology, so people regularly travelling three days a week can get the sort of discounts provided by the weekly travelcards

What’s he’s done right: Staying out of the BoJo/Red Ken spats. Although, his ‘Can’t vote Boris. Won’t vote Ken’ leaflets don’t inspire much confidence in his own merits…
What he’s done wrong: That blooper at the Mayoral debate at City Hall where he accidentally declared, ‘I am a career politician!’ rather than ‘…not a career politician’. He has also appeared on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, which definitely counts against him...
In his own words: 'We deserve better than the Punch and Judy politics that has let down our city for too long.'



Political affiliation: Green Party

Tagline: Let's turn London green 

Key policies for business:

  • To create 150,000 apprenticeships and jobs
  • To set up community enterprise zones, supporting industries such as renewable energy manufacturing and internet start-ups
  • Cut fares and reduce traffic
  • offer a job or apprenticeship to all young, unemployed Londoners and award a Fair Pay Mark to companies who reduce pay inequality amongst their employees.
  • Focus the GLA's economic development budget on support for small businesses and co-operatives
  • Give communities and councils more power to keep jobs and money in their local economy, to help save independent shops

What’s she’s done right: Jack of all trades Jenny has been an archeologist, financial controller and Deputy Mayor. She has also worked all over the world, from London to the Middle East.
What she’s done wrong: Polls suggest she is only backed by 2-3% of Londoners. When confronted with this fact, she replied: ‘The Green vote is there. It just doesn’t show up in the polls.’ Not much good if they don’t vote though, is it…
In her own words: 'I’m working class. Born on a council estate. I’m an example of upward mobility.'



Political affiliation: Independent

Tagline: People not party politics

Key policies for business:

  • Offer space in underused public buildings to charities and other organisations
  • Establish an independent Office of Budget Responsibility which will produce five-year economic forecasts for London twice a year and undertake a competitiveness review of London
  • Maintain and extend investment in London's transport and support and facilitate the roll-out of capital-wide wi-fi
  • Freeze public transport fares until at least April 2014
  • Create new jobs and opportunities, promote benefits of apprenticeships
  • Attract investment from abroad and capitalise on the Olympics to attract business from overseas
  • Support expansion of Heathrow Airport

What she’s done right: She has a heavyweight celebrity following including Richard Branson and, er… actor Tom Conti.
What she’s done wrong: Her public sector background has given rise to accusations that she will increase City Hall spending at the expense of the private sector.
In her own words: ‘I think people are very disillusioned with party politics’



Political affiliation: UKIP

Tagline: A Fresh Choice for London

Key policies for business: 

  • Salary freeze for all departmental heads in City Hall
  • Create more jobs for Londoners by getting a tighter grip on immigration
  • Cut rates for local businesses employing local people
  • Fight EU red tape
  • 5% VAT for beer and cider
  • Cut VAT on the refurbishment of existing buildings
  • Cashback incentives for good recycling
  • Give landlords the power to decide if they want smoking rooms in pubs and clubs


What’s he’s done right: The former night club owner has also served in the armed forces, and worked across the globe, including Tokyo Australia.
What he’s done wrong: He has been forced to admit, as mayor, he would not have the power to deliver many of his pledges.
In his own words: He told a UKIP party conference that he was bound to win because his seven-year-old daughter Jennifer had been elected to her school council and this ‘proved the Webbs can win in London. Riiiight.


Political affiliation: BNP

Tagline: Think commonsense. Vote BNP

Key policies for business: 

  • British jobs for British workers
  • Abolish the Congestion Charge, CPZ and LEZ
  • Reduce council tax
  • Free weekend Tube and train travel

What’s he’s done right: ‘I want to pay back this country that has been so kind to me and my family,’ he says. Bless.
What he’s done wrong: There are rumours circulating alleging his involvement in a certain 80s conflict in the South Atlantic… On the other side. 
In his own words: ‘I am of Italian descent which, I guess, makes me the most ‘cosmopolitan’ candidate standing for London Mayor in 2012’ MT isn’t sure this will will you many votes from BNP hard-liners, Carlos.

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