London Citzens Mayoral Election Hustings (LIVE BLOG)

25/04/2012 18:17 | Updated 25 April 2012

With eight days to go until London choses its next Mayor, one of the largest public hustings has taken place in Central London.

It's the largest live audience the candidates will face in the whole campaign, and it's been organised by London Citizens, a cross-London interfaith organisation which encourages Londoners to engage with politics. It's been running for more than 15 years and started off in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

Huffpost was liveblogging from the event - the proceedings can be viewed below.

The questions put to the Mayoral candidates were posed by ordinary Londoners, gathered through a series of door-knocks throughout the city over the past few weeks.

Ruhana Ali, one of the community organisers based in the East End of London, told HuffPost that it was the toughest hustings for the Mayoral candidates.

"They're really feeling the pressure this time around, because of all of the scandals that have happened in politics," she says.

"It's not one of those events where they're given a free reign to do a spheel, they're being directly held to account on the policies that Londoners want."

Ali believes the race will be incredibly tight, and her experience suggests there're a lot of fickle, floating voters who haven't made up their mind.

"We're a broad-based alliance of different organisations, encouraging people to work together for the common good. We're going right into the heart of the neighbourhoods, and in areas you'd think would be quite Labour, or kind of given, people have mixed opinions about Labour, and the same for Conservatives. But people are engaging with this election more than any other election. They know it's going to be a close one, and every vote counts this time.

"We've got different issues in east London compared to the things that come up in west London, but one of the things that unites everyone is a social justice agenda. London's very particular and very special, people feel they're Londoners and care about things that happen in their capital."

25/04/2012 21:08 BST

The event is appearing to wrap up... who won?

Well on the strength of the applause in the room, Ken Clearly had the room with his pledges to cut tube fares. Jenny Jones was punished for being honest on the night, Boris got the most laughs as usual, but not the thunderous applause his Labour rival had.

Brian Paddick did quite well, but used his free time to urge people to vote Lib Dem in the London assembly - acknowledging that he will not win the Mayoralty.

It's been quite an amazing night, though, very inspiring and quite emotional.

The main impression you get from Boris is that he's finally woken up to some home truths about how Londoners feel. Maybe it's a coincidence that Britain went back into recession on the same day, but suddenly the narrative from him has shifted on to jobs and away from other things.

Another nice thing about this event was that the candidates had to address a crowd and be accountable, and were not allowed to attack each other. That's been the main problem with this campaign, and it's turned people off.

Politics should be like this a lot more often.

25/04/2012 21:02 BST

Paddick: I will live for one week every year on minimum wage

People seem to like this idea.

25/04/2012 20:59 BST

Paddick: I am totally committed to a London living wage

Brian says anyone with anything to do with City Hall , including subcontractors , pay the London Living Wage.

25/04/2012 20:57 BST

Brian Paddick is on the stage talking about housing...

"I am committed to the biggest social house building programme this city has seen in a generation, ensuring the rents are at 40 percent of the market rate.

"I believe all Londoners should be able to rent a home for no more than a third of their salary."

25/04/2012 20:54 BST

The hotel that pays piece work is Hilton, by the way.

Gasps of horor in the room...

25/04/2012 20:53 BST

We've just heard shocking stuff from a cleaner who gets paid £3 per room

She cleans in a hotel, and it's basically piece work - she gets £3 per room, and isn't paid an hourly rate. If she's tired, she gets paid less because she cleans fewer rooms.

It's hard to believe this is still going on.

She says at the end of the week, after taxes and travel costs, she has £50 left for food and everything else.

25/04/2012 20:44 BST

Boris: In tough times we have to be realisitc

Boris is saying he is "best placed to get the cash from central government" among all the candidates.

He says "I want to be the Mayor that unites London, cares, cherishes and supports London.

"If I am spared by the electoral reaper, I want you to know how much I have loved working with you and hope to work with you over the next four years."

25/04/2012 20:42 BST

Boris now being cross-examined...

I see no reason why the whole of the FTSE 100 should sign up to the London Living Wage, and all of Whitehall.

Boris is asked if TFL will give up advertising space for London Living Wage Week, and he says yes, "As long as the adverts are sensible."

Who decides what is sensible?

"A very sensible committee at TFL," Boris replies.

25/04/2012 20:39 BST

Boris Johnson: I will cut travel fares for all apprentices

This is one of London Citizens' agenda items.

Boris gets a reasonably good cheer, but it's by no means as big as the one Ken had.

25/04/2012 20:37 BST

Boris - I stand for investment (but is told off)

Boris is told to stick to the agenda as he talks about his agenda, not London Citizens' agenda.

But he says he has a "geyser of enthusiasm" for London Citizens' agenda.

He pledges to create 32,000 a year, creating 104,000 jobs. He wants to "get young people in our city ready for work", saying he doesn't want to create jobs if young Londoners cant do them.

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