Left Watch

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Ken Livingstone plans to brand the Government's cuts as "Boris's cuts"

By Jonathan Isaby

Ken Livingstone Tim noted on Sunday that it will not be easy for Boris Johnson to win a second term as London Mayor, not least because the election will come in May 2012 at a time when the Coalition Government's cuts are biting and anyone donning a blue rosette is liable to suffer the traditional mid-term backlash against a governing party.

We already have evidence that Boris fully intends to continue being a voice for London who will challenge the Conservative-led Government at Westminster rather than act as a cheerleader for it.

However, it is not entirely surprising that ex-mayor Ken Livingstone - the frontrunner for the Labour nomination - seems to have every intention of pinning every difficult decision made by the Government as coming from Boris's friends at Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street.

And yesterday Livingstone published spurious clams that every Londoner will be £5,625 worse off as a result of Whitehall cuts over the next mayoral term.

He told the Evening Standard:

“The scale of the Government's cuts is breathtaking. Their agenda is entirely ideological —there are alternatives that do not involve slashing services, jobs and pay, and risking pushing us back into economic downturn.

“These will be cuts at a level far worse than those introduced by Margaret Thatcher. Thousands of Londoners of all backgrounds are going to be worse off. Boris Johnson will do everything humanly possible to avoid culpability. But the Government's cuts are his cuts.

If he wins the nomination, I fully expect to hear that refrain ad nauseam.