Caroline Pidgeon “feistiest performer” in first London mayor debate

The first London Mayor debate took place last night and Caroline Pidgeon came in for praise from commentator Martin Hoscik:

Pidgeon was the panel’s feistiest performer, pointedly contrasting her own 8 year term on the London Assembly with her rivals’ lack of City Hall knowledge and experience.

And she provided the evening’s only real flashpoint when she denounced UKIP candidate Peter Whittle’s support for leaving the EU as an “insane” threat to the capital’s economy.

But, perhaps aware of her own bruiser-like tendencies, Pidgeon ensured that her opening statement was peppered with references to her own experiences as a part-time worker and a mum, real-world experiences which could help her connect with enough voters to reclaim the party’s traditional status as the third biggest on the London Assembly to which she’s also seeking re-election.

Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan were unimpressive, with Hoscik saying that they didn’t seem enthusiastic about the role and merely repeated things they’d been saying for months.

Green candidate Sian Berry was, according to Hoscik, like a student activist.

If you read the City AM report, you could be forgiven for thinking that nobody else took part in the debate besides Goldsmith and Khan.

Howeveer Adam Bienkov could see Caroline as Mayor:

The other candidates on the stage were significantly more interesting. The Liberal Democrat candidate Caroline Pidgeon is a seasoned London Assembly member, who has successfully scrutinised and held Boris to account on a whole range of issues over the past eight years. With a forensic understanding of London-wide issues, Pidgeon could easily step into the job tomorrow and hold her own during the monthly three-hour long marathon Mayor’s Question Time sessions. Most of her opponents on stage last night would probably struggle.

One thing I might suggest to Caroline’s team is to get some stuff in the Twitter feed from Caroline herself when there’s an event like that. Khan and Goldsmith were all over it. Caroline did have some cheerleading from others, but it might have been a good moment to put in some of her main points.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Eddie Sammon 29th Jan '16 - 5:42pm

    I agree about the Twitter feed. It would be good to be able to easily find her positions on a wide range of issues. I had a look earlier and could find some decent ideas, but they were all about helping the low paid and the environment. I know that’s what a lot of people believe in, but it’s not the best electoral strategy. Not in this day anyway.

    I was thinking the other night how to boost her profile. She could pipe up about some national issues. She must think strongly about something going on nationally, so really pipe up on it. Write to a paper.

    She does a lot of things I can’t do, but I can provide some tips.

  • Peter Davies 30th Jan '16 - 7:19am

    The few seconds of her performance picked for the highlights were on housing. She was proposing doing something while the front-runners were proposing targets for others to do something. I think this is the area we can get most traction.

  • Denis Loretto 30th Jan '16 - 9:46am

    Ian Sanderson’s comment needs shouted from the rooftops to all who are either Lib Dem supporters or who at least value Caroline Pidgeon as an individual, as I certainly do. There is a danger that some such people will have such strong views one way or the other on the Zac Goldsmith vs Sadiq Khan contest that they will feel they must use their first preference vote to boost the chances of one or weaken the chances of the other. Without question the two who will emerge on top from the first preference count are Sadiq and Zac. Therefore you will influence the final outcome just as much by voting for one of them as second preference as you would if you voted for them as first preference. Incidentally you might think you help Caroline or indeed any of the other candidates by putting them as your second preference. You are perfectly entitled to do that. However in practice you would simply waste your vote. The sensible advice is to vote only for Zac or Sadiq as second preference.

    Also bear in mind the London Assembly election. If you want to see the “feisty” (I don’t think she would object to that description!) Caroline Pidgeon back in City Hall to hold the Mayor to account, as she has been doing for the past 8 years, then simply ensure you put your X against Liberal Democrat on the ballot paper asking for a London-wide party vote – even if you do not consider yourself as an out and out Lib Dem – as well as voting for your preferred candidate on the separate ballot paper containing the names of your local candidates.

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