Twickenham station raised as Boris launches election campaign in Richmond
Boris Johnson launched his re-election campaign in Richmond this week, in his typical comical style.
The official launch was held at Duke Street Church in Richmond town centre on Tuesday, April 10, with Boris then taking to the streets with his blue T-shirt-clad team to talk to residents and hand out leaflets.
London Assembly Member for the south-west and Richmond councillor, Tony Arbour and North Kingston and Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith accompanied Boris on Tuesday, giving praising speeches to welcome the London Mayor.
Coun Arbour said: “It’s entirely appropriate that Boris should be launching his manifesto here. We have been great beneficiaries from the Boris administration.”
Mr Goldsmith said: “We are backing someone who made promises four years ago and he is delivering them.”
The controversial Twickenham station decision was brought up at the launch, following a question from a member of the audience, asking what Boris thought of high-rise developments throughout London.
Boris responded: “I see no reason why high-rise building should be pedal pounded around London.
“Where they can work is transport hubs – there is good cause for going high.”
He then added: “I am not for just plonking them in the back gardens of the city. When they come to me – I reject them.”
Yet following the speech, when questioned on the station decision, and despite repeated questions from residents, he said: “I believe that was a council decision. It was the council that was keen to do it.”
Many residents said they would not vote for Boris after he did not intervene with the proposals from Solum Regeneration, for the redevelopment of Twickenham station.
Sherland Road resident Julie Hill said: “Boris has been a huge disappointment to the great many people of Twickenham and station users who opposed the high-rise Solum scheme.
“I am so disappointed with Boris and am in two minds as to whether to even bother voting for a Mayor at all.”
During the speech on Tuesday, Boris acknowledged that every vote counted in this election and said “this election is about trust”.
When addressing the promise to provide the Routemaster buses with conductors, which Ken Livingstone had previously said he was going to bring in, Boris said: “I not only keep my promises, I keep the ones he broke.”
At the launch, the audience cheered the Conservative candidate as he made his speech in his famous jokey manner, but also told of the things he had done in his four years as London Mayor.
One of the biggest things, he said, was to cut his portion of council tax across London, benefitting 13,325 Richmond homes, after freezing the Mayor’s precept for three successive years.
According to statistics released by the Back Boris campaign, crime and robberies in Richmond had fallen during his mayoral reign. Since May 2008, Richmond had a 13.5 per cent decrease in total crime and a 44 per cent reduction in the number of robberies.
Boris is currently the favourite at bookmaker, Paddy Power, with odds of 2/7, ahead of Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, with odds of 5/2, independent candidate Siobhan Benita at 66/1, Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick at 100/1, while British National Party candidate Carlos Cortiglia had the longest odds of 500/1.