Tag Archives: Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon steps down


Liberal Democrats Party Autumn Conference at Bournemouth International Centre – Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon has led the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly for 14 years, and has been a member for 16. Today was her last day in the chamber, because the London elections kick into action next week and she is not standing again.

Caroline has been Co-Chair of the Transport Committee for 16 years, and has asked an amazing 8,235 Mayoral Questions (the most of any Assembly Member ever since its establishment in 2000).

This morning Sadiq Khan paid a …

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Caroline Pidgeon challenges Transport for London over illegal ULEZ fines

London Assembly member, Caroline Pidgeon, has been publicising stories emerging from drivers from outside the UK who have been handed large fines which appear to be both unwarranted and illegal. The Guardian has picked up her concerns and its investigations (“Hundreds of thousands of EU citizens ‘wrongly fined for driving in London Ulez’“) have revealed that the practice is widespread.

She discovered that thousands of drivers have been fined large sums under Transport for London’s ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) regulations for not paying the £12.50 charge when driving in London. It seems that their personal data was acquired by dodgy illegal means. In fact this is “possibly one of the largest data breaches in EU history”. As the Guardian says:

Since Brexit, the UK has been banned from automatic access to personal details of EU residents. Transport authorities in Belgium, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands have confirmed to the Guardian that driver data cannot be shared with the UK for enforcement of London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez), and claim registered keeper details were obtained illegally by agents acting for TfL’s contractor Euro Parking Collection.

Now this is not a case of guilty people getting away with it because of data protection laws. In many cases the drivers were in ULEZ compliant cars and should not have been subject to the ULEZ fee anyway! In other cases the drivers had paid the charge.

The problem is that EU drivers of ULEZ compliant vehicles coming into London are required to register with Euro Parking at least 10 days in advance. But this requirement is simply not publicised. So drivers who should not have to pay the charge are instead penalised.

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23 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Davey on Houthi strikes: Vital Parliament has its say
  • Simon Clarke and Sunak soap opera: A fourth PM without an election would be “ludicrous”
  • Operation Onyx One Year On – 1,400 Met Officers Still Under Investigation for Sexual Abuse
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government to make good on promise to “prioritise care not profit”
  • Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds calls on Welsh Government to protect businesses from floods

Davey on Houthi strikes: Vital Parliament has its say

Responding to the latest set of strikes on the Houthi rebels, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Liberal Democrats are concerned about the Houthis’ attacks in the Red Sea and so we support the case for limited strikes, so long as they remain limited.

However, it is absolutely vital that Parliament has an opportunity to have its say, via a debate and a vote. The Prime Minister has so far failed to grant either. It is deeply disappointing that elected representatives are being bypassed on an issue as important as military action.

Simon Clarke and Sunak soap opera: A fourth PM without an election would be “ludicrous”

Responding to Simon Clarke calling on Rishi Sunak to be replaced as Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

It is utterly ludicrous that the Conservative Party is even discussing installing a fourth Prime Minister without giving voters a say.

The Conservatives are once again fighting like rats in a sack while families face soaring bills and an NHS crisis.

People are sick and tired of this never-ending Conservative Party soap opera. It’s time for Rishi Sunak to give voters the chance to put an end to this farce and call a general election.

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12 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • NHS waiting list: Public are tired of waiting on this government that has given up
  • London Assembly Liberal Democrats Back Motion to Condemn Hamas Terrorist Attacks

NHS waiting list: Public are tired of waiting on this government that has given up

Responding to the news that the NHS waiting list has risen to 7.7 million, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP said:

This is yet another damning indictment of this Conservative government’s record on the NHS.

They broke their promise to recruit 6000 GPs, broke their promise to build 40 hospitals and now they’ve broken their promise to bring down

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Caroline Pidgeon’s farewell speech to Conference

Caroline Pidgeon will bring 16 years of service as a Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member to an end when she stands down in May.

In her farewell speech to Conference this week, she reflected on her time at City Hall.

Enjoy.

 

The text is below.

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12 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Wage Figures: Sunak must commit to triple lock now
  • NHS staff cannot be left to suffer in silence
  • Government may have broken law over sewage: “Environmental vandalism on an industrial scale”
  • Liberal Democrats welcome TfL’s new road safety charter

Wage Figures: Sunak must commit to triple lock now

Responding to today’s wage figures which would be used to uprate pensions, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Rishi Sunak must commit now to the triple lock to ensure the state pension rises in line with the cost of living.

His failure to commit to the triple lock earlier this week will have left a cloud of uncertainty hanging over struggling pensioners. We also need a guarantee that welfare payments won’t be slashed in real terms.

Families and pensioners should not be made to pay the price for years of economic mismanagement under the Conservatives.

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London Lib Dems prepare for the London elections next year

Every four years Londoners elect the Greater London Authority in the form of the Mayor of London and the 25 members of the London Assembly. As it happens the elections due in 2020 were postponed a year, so when the elections take place in May 2024 the current incumbents will have been in place for just three years.

The main focus is on the election of the Mayor of London, which for the first time will be chosen using First Past the Post. In the past there has been a supplementary vote, so voters could express a second preference. That changed with the Elections Act 2022, most remembered for the introduction of voter ID. But there were some other nuggets buried in the Act, including this regressive move away from the supplementary vote for elections for Mayors and Police Commissioners – itself a rudimentary type of PR – to First Past the Post.

The London Assembly holds the Mayor to account, and its 25 members are selected using the Additional Member system.  London is divided into 14 largish constituencies, each of which elects one member to the London Assembly, using First Past the Post.

The 14 constituency members are then topped up with 11 members from the party lists. Voters select one party list – they have no choice about the candidates on each list or the order in which they appear, which will have been determined by the parties themselves using their own internal selection methods.

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ULEZ victory for Lib Dem Assembly Members

It’s just seven months till London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expands across all boroughs, making millions more of the capital’s residents liable for charges. For a small vehicle like a car, the daily charge is £12.50.

This week, London’s Liberal Democrat Assembly members passed an amendment to the scheme which aims to help residents with the impact, including providing more buses:

Our amendment would:

  •  double the scrappage scheme with an additional £100 million and to allow Blue Badge holders to apply
  •  invest £25 million in bus services in Outer London, including demand-responsive buses such as Go Sutton Bus

You can see Caroline Pidgeon’s speech proposing it here:

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Caroline Pidgeon to step down as London Assembly Member in 2024

Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon announced today at the London Regional Conference that she will not stand for re-election in 2024. Later she tweeted:

Caroline will be greatly missed by colleagues from all parties, including London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, whom she stood against when he was first elected in 2016:

Similar praise came from Conservative and Green Assembly members;

And Liberal Democrats were keen to thank her for all she has done over the years:

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Lib Dems mark Sabina Nessa vigil

Last night a vigil was held in Lewisham for Sabina Nessa, the young teacher murdered as she took a short walk at around 8:30 on Friday 17th September to meet a friend.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Rabina Khan was there and posted the heartbreaking speech from Sabina’s sister, who showed incredible courage in speaking.

Former leader Jo Swinson, who lives in that part of London, said:

Women and Equalities spokesperson Wera Hobhouse:

Earlier in the day, Rabina had been on the Today programme, talking to Nick Robinson about the fact that when women of colour go missing or worse, their stories attract much less attention than when white, middle class women go missing.

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Caroline Pidgeon: Government must act to avoid another Grenfell

Caroline Pidgeon was on Sunday Politics London today calling for action on cladding. Three years after the Grenfell tragedy, not enough has been done to remove the  cladding that caused the fire to spread so quickly. She described how people were frightened to go to sleep in their own homes.

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Caroline Pidgeon writes…Who is the real Boris Johnson?

Just who is the real Boris Johnson? 

Is it the man who for eight years was the Mayor of one of the world’s most multi-racial cities, or instead the man who in his 2002 Daily Telegraph column included racist insults against black people, citing “regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies” in the Commonwealth and referring to “the tribal warriors… all break out in watermelon smiles”.

Is it the man who now argues in favour of a no deal Brexit, or instead the Boris Johnson who declared in his Daily Telegraph column: “It is also true that the single market is of considerable value to many UK companies and consumers, and that leaving would cause at least some business uncertainty.”

Or indeed the Boris Johnson of 2012 who stated that whenever he considered the prospect of Britain leaving, he always came down “narrowly” in favour of Britain staying.  And the Boris Johnson who took full advantage of the cheap lending from the European Investment Bank to fund London’s transport infrastructure.

Within a few weeks Conservative party members will be making a decision on whether they want Boris Johnson as their leader. They have to make a decision over a man whose views over the years have had more twists in them than a corkscrew.

Yet examining his contradictory and insulting statements on so many issues only gets us so far.  In contrast the actual record of Boris Johnson is clear cut.  

As someone who witnessed and scrutinised his activities at City Hall for eight years I have a clearer recollection of events than the Conservative MPs now scenting the chance of a ministerial post.

When examined in the round, his record was one of inactivity, missed opportunities and an immense waste of public money.  Always putting himself before anything else. 

Yet his supporters, such as Jacob Rees Mogg and James Cleverly are now peddling the idea that his record of Mayor of London was that of unbridled success and huge achievement.

It is said that a lie can get half way around the world before truth has even got its boots on.   

We now run that risk with some of the fanciful claims being made by Boris’ supporters will start to be believed.  We cannot allow that to happen.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games

Incredibly some people seek to credit Boris Johnson with the overall success of the 2012 Games.  His contribution to their success was in fact minimal. The hard work and the groundwork at the Olympic Park started long before he arrived at City Hall.  London won the bid for the 2012 Games in July 2005, three years before he became Mayor. There was a huge amount of work undertaken in preparing our bid in the years before that.  His biggest contribution was waving the flag at the opening ceremony.

Crime 

It is claimed during his time at City Hall that great progress was made in tackling crime. The reality is that there was serious rioting across the capital in the summer of 2011, wrecking many high streets and small businesses. His supporters also overlook the fact that knife crime was increasing in the last two years of his office.

Housing

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Caroline Pidgeon calls for blue plaque for Ealing’s Olympic tennis player Charlotte Cooper

Ealing had a women’s Olympic tennis champion, but I’d never heard of her until earlier this week.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member has linked up with Southfield Councillor Gary Malcolm to support a Blue Plaque being installed to remember  Charlotte Cooper.

The tennis player, who was born in Ealing was the first ever woman to win an Olympic title, when women were admitted into the Games in Paris in 1900. She became the first woman in history to win a First Place Prize in tennis (medals were not given out until 1904).

Charlotte Cooper was five times Wimbledon singles champion, she also won the mixed doubles event, as well as the Swiss, German and Irish titles which were prestigious championships at the time.  Yet despite her numerous achievements there is no Blue Plaque to commemorate her life and her association with Ealing.

Caroline Pidgeon AM and Councillor Gary Malcolm’s nomination of Charlotte Cooper is part of a wider campaign by the London Assembly to ensure more women are recognised by Blue Plaques.

Caroline said:

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Why Heathrow deserves a more thorough debate

It is now August and a good time to reflect, especially on those issues which have received insufficient attention.

Although Brexit has understandably dominated politics for many months, it is worth noting that just six weeks ago Parliament made the decision to back a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The vote – by 415 to 119 – approved the National Planning Statement (NPS) that paves the way for the £14 billion construction project. Peers did not get a vote.

Some people, whatever their past thoughts on the pros and cons of a third Heathrow runway, might think that the issue has now been …

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Caroline Pidgeon highlights Oyster “cash mountain”

So, Transport for London has £321 million of our money and is keeping quiet about it. Lib Dem Assembly Member and former Mayoral Candidate Caroline Pidgeon has made the headlines by uncovering the fact that TfL is sitting on this vast sum of money on Oyster cards which haven’t been used for over a year.

From the BBC:

Ms Pidgeon, chair of City Hall’s transport committee, put the “soaring” figure partly down to the number of people switching in recent years to making contactless payments with their bank cards.

She said: “TfL never stops bombarding us with advertisements and information campaigns,

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WATCH: The #LiberalLondon Rally

Last night, London Lib Dems launched their campaign for May’s elections. One of the many things that is fantastic about having Vince as leader is that he gets local government. He gets why it is important as an end in itself. He’s been there – as a councillor in another city, Glasgow, back in the 70s. Hackney Heroine Pauline Pearce talked about the scourge of knife crime. Caroline Pidgeon talked about winning in a safe Labour seat. The amazing Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, talked about their investment in mental health support among other things.

You can watch the whole event here.

And here are some of the Twitter highlights.

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The Presidents Club is not the only prestigious men only event

The Presidents Club Dinner has been in the news this week, but I was reminded that this was not the only example of a men only dinner for powerful men at which women were there to provide little more than decoration and entertainment.

Two years ago, Caroline Pidgeon spoke out when the TfL chairman managed to attend 3 dinners without noticing that there were no women there. I wrote at the time:

Transport for London boss Sir Peter Hendy is under fire after he accepted an invitation to attend not one, or two, but three dinners from which women are excluded. The Independent has the story:

The CommonSpace website said that Sir Peter, 61, who receives a £348,000 salary, attended the December dinner in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Portman Square, London, as a guest of the Scottish-based bus company Alexander Dennis Ltd. Photos of the event posted on the society’s website showed a “handsome body of men enjoying their dinner” alongside another picture of female performers in thigh-cut dresses who were said to be bringing “a new spectacle to the dinner”.

The golfing society’s rules state membership is open only to “gentlemen associated with the transport industry”, and that the dinner is “for gentlemen only”. Its website described the gathering as “one of the best sporting dinners of the year. With a glamorous string quartet playing exciting music in even more exciting tight dresses, a troupe of can-can dancers and a truly fun atmosphere”. It added: “Over the years we have been privileged to welcome top men from the worlds of sport, industry, show business and politics. They always enthusiastically wave their napkins to the patriotic sounds of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and leap enthusiastically to the feet when their table’s turn comes to sing ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Some even do the actions!”

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Liberal Democrats accuse Government of hypocrisy over EU workers in Parliament

Lib Dem Freedom of Information requests have revealed the numbers of EU citizens who work in the Houses of Parliament.

Nationality by Category Commons staff Lords staff
British 1971 485
Irish 25 10
EU (not including British or Irish) 112 48
Non-EU 108 36

 

A total of 195 staff out of 2795 are non-British European nationals, that is, 7%. Of those, 5.7% (the non-Irish EU citizens) face an uncertain post-Brexit future.

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The Garden Bridge – or Johnson’s folly

If you live outside London you might be unaware of the on-going row over the proposal for a Garden Bridge. The concept was supported by Boris Johnson, with celebrity endorsement. The project envisaged a pedestrian bridge located between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges, designed as a park.

The Mayor of London published a report last week, authored by Margaret Hodge, which identified major problems with the project and recommended that it should be scrapped. Costs have increased from £60m to over £200m, and the procurement processes were deeply flawed. What is more, the project was “driven more by electoral cycles than value for taxpayers’ money.”

Hodge said:

In the present climate, with continuing pressures on public spending, it is difficult to justify further public investment in the Garden Bridge.

Caroline Pidgeon had this to say about it:

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Boris Johnson’s foolishness and arrogance in purchasing water cannon

This week Sadiq Khan revealed that three redundant water cannon, bought controversially by his predecessor, are to be put up for sale, with the proceeds going towards helping to tackle gang crime.

It is a decision I totally endorse and welcome.

Back in 2014 Boris Johnson decided to purchase three second hand water cannon from Germany.  We now discover that £322,834 of taxpayers’ money has been spent by the Met Police on purchasing these 25 year old vehicles, and then transporting, fitting out and repairing the machines.

The scale of the foolishness, and quite frankly arrogance, in purchasing these water cannon is hard to underestimate.

For a start these water cannon were purchased before authorisation was given for their use by the Home Secretary.  After they had been purchased consideration of permitting authorisation of their use was undertaken by the then Home Secretary.  It was firmly refused.  On this issue Theresa May showed immense thoroughness in carefully examining the merits for and against the adoption of water cannon.  Her statement to the House of Commons on the 15th July 2015 is an example of a Home Secretary acting in a truly professional way.  The Hansard record is well worth a read.

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Caroline Pidgeon: Case against Heathrow expansion as strong as ever

Caroline Pidgeon, like all Liberal Democrats, has always campaigned against a third runway at Heathrow. The picture shows her speaking against expansion at a demo in Parliament Square last year.

This is her reaction to yesterday’s announcement that the Government has, inexplicably, decided to back the project:

After an incredibly expensive lobbying campaign the Government has ‎foolishly accepted the myth that what is good for the overseas owners of Heathrow is also good for the UK economy.

The reality is that airports such as Luton and Stansted have spare capacity.   And in time HS2 will also allow easy access ‎to Birmingham airport for many Londoners.

We can improve the UK’s international links through better use of all our airports.  It is the triumph of vested interests for this Government to claim that the environmental wreckage created by a third Heathrow runway‎ is a price worth paying.

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“Please offer me a seat”

avril-coelho-conference

As a disabled commuter who is unable to drive for medical reasons, I rely as thousands of other people to on public transport to get to the shops, to  get to work and back and to get to medical appointments.

Whilst I have a disabled person’s freedom pass, drivers don’t always notice that I need a priority seat. Certainly as my disabilities are hidden, other passengers don’t see my epilepsy or the three worn vertebrae in my spine. I need to sit where it’s not too hard to get up again and where the driver can see if I do have a seizure. I know that should I have a seizure, bus drivers have a protocol to follow.

I have been on a busy Tube and not offered a seat despite talking about my need for one with another standing passenger who was two weeks away from giving birth. Her need was obvious to anyone with sight but nobody got up. We were stood next to many seated men with briefcases and mobile phones in their hands who might have all needed their seats but it’s unlikely. A seat came up and I offered the lady the seat as her and her unborn baby needed it. The heat became unbearable and triggered a seizure and without anyone giving up a seat within the ten seconds I had to sit down, I fell down on the Tube floor. Only then did the men seated get up. Not to offer me their seats though! They picked me and my bag up and carried me of the Gunnersbury platform bench and left me alone there! My bag could have been stolen before the seizure ended.

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A quarter of a billion pounds to be claimed!

Caroline-Pidgeon

No, this is not a pitch for claims for mis-sold PPI.

£223,392,863 – that is a huge sum of money, and travellers in London have unwittingly loaned it to Transport for London. But the good news is that they can claim it back.

So where does that figure come from, and why is Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem London Assembly member, so bothered about it? Caroline is also Chair of London’s Transport Committee and this is not the first time she has drawn our attention to the nest egg that Transport for London is sitting on.

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As hate crime rises, Farron and Pidgeon visit vandalised Polish Centre

Probably the most awful of many bad aspects of the referendum is that that very small section of the population who are racists and bigots feel emboldened. They think they have 17 million mates. Social media is awash with reports of attacks and the Police say that reports of hate crime are up 57%. While only a tiny minority of Leave voters are racists, they all need to take some responsibility, alongside the Leave campaign, for allowing this appalling behaviour to flourish.

It’s not just in the last few weeks, though. This prejudice has been stoked endlessly by the media and both Tory and Labour governments for long enough. If they had done what Holly said, years ago, we might not be in this mess now.

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On Sadiq Khan’s Hopper bus ticket: an idea you may have heard of before

One hour bus ticket 2009So, Sadiq Khan has made his first big transport announcement, one hour Hopper bus ticket.

Now, even though I live 400 miles away, I know fine that this is not be an original idea from the new London Mayor. Someone has been campaigning for this since 2009. Who could that possibly be?

Step forward Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon. The photo was taken in 2009 in tandem with this article in the Standard and the policy was in the 2012 Lib Dem London manifesto.

Boris blithely dismissed it in the same way Cameron dismissed the raising of the tax threshold policy, saying it was too complicated and costly.

His successor saw the sense in it and used Caroline’s idea in his manifesto. 

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Caroline Pidgeon elected in London …

Caroline Pidgeon… but not as Mayor of London – that will be Labour’s Sadiq Khan, although it has yet to be announced officially.

Instead she has won a seat on the London Assembly from the party list. Sadly she will be our only Assembly Member.

The constituency seats have been shared between Labour (9) and Conservatives (5). The final result for the London Assembly, including the seats allocated from the party lists, is:

Labour – 12

Conservative – 8

Green – 2

UKIP – 2

Lib Dems – 1

The names of all 25 Assembly members can be

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How Caroline Pidgeon would change London for the better

Caroline Pidgeon is spending the last day of campaigning for the Mayoral Election out in Putney with Nick Clegg

LBC has a list of ten ways London would change if she were Mayor.

1) £20 from your council tax will be used to build new houses
The Olympic precept will be maintained, but the money turned to building 50,000 council homes to rent and 150,000 for sale.

2) Tube fares before 7.30am will be half-price
The Lib Dems promise to “introduce half price fares for Tube, Overground rail and DLR travellers before 7.30am – to reduce the cost of travel for thousands of hard-working Londoners and ease peak congestion.”

3) All London’s buses and taxis will become fully electric
A Lib Dem plan is to switch London’s buses and taxis to be fully electric as well as helping to switch commercial vans too.

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Voting in the London elections – after 16 years voters are still confused

Caroline-Pidgeon

The Guardian has an interview with Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.  After disclaiming any responsibility for the cold that has afflicted all the candidates, she says this about her campaign:

Overall, it’s gone well. Ordinary people are saying they like what I’m saying on childcare and cheaper fares that are affordable. And that’s not just in places where we are strong, like Sutton, or in Bermondsey, where I’m known.

She says this of her two main rivals, Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan and the dirty campaign they have been running:

I think both of them, but particularly Zac, will wish they hadn’t done it. It’s damaged their reputations. Zac has always been seen by most people as a decent kind of guy.

On the doorstep voters are still confused about the voting processes for the London elections – and that is not surprising because they will be presented with three ballot papers, each using a different voting system.

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Can you help the London Liberal Democrats beat UKIP and win a third Assembly seat?

London Liberal Democrats are making a push for funds to help them run the best possible final flourish to the campaign and get out the vote operation.

A You Gov poll indicated that if we can just get one more percentage point, we could beat UKIP and get Merlene Emerson elected as our third assembly member.

Caroline Pidgeon says on the London Liberal Democrats’ website:

Polls show that a handful of votes could separate UKIP and the Lib Dems on 5th May.

Those votes will either elect Merlene Emerson to join me on the Assembly, a British-Chinese liberal, or a prejudiced UKIP voice.

For every additional £500 we can contact 93,000 people with Facebook advertising to run alongside our targeted literature and canvassing. We’re aiming to raise £10,000 in the next few days so we can contact our target voters three times each on Facebook to maximise our chances of getting our vote out.

Four years ago we pushed the BNP off the London Assembly. And, by just a few votes, kept out UKIP as well. Help me make sure we do it again.

Thanks again for your support!

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LibLink: Getting real about tackling London’s air pollution

Greenpeace has been asking the London Mayoral candidates about how they would tackle air pollution in London, where air quality is one of the lowest in Europe.

Here is Caroline Pidgeon’s response:

It was not long ago that understanding about air pollution was pitiful, especially amongst MPs. Just 18 months ago a poll of 100 MPs revealed that hardly any recognised that air pollution the second biggest public health risk, with only smoking posing a greater risk.Thankfully things are changing. Yet while the greater recognition of the horrific consequences of air pollution is welcome, the real challenge is to ensure action is actually taken.My manifesto is quite clear that real action is needed straight away.

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