London mayoral election 2016: The best bits of the one-on-one between Conservative Zac Goldsmith and Labour's Sadiq Khan

 
James Nickerson
Follow James
Zac Goldsmith Goes Head To Head With Sadiq Khan In First Mayoral Debate
Neither candidate took time to exchange plepleasantries (Source: Getty)

Neither Sadiq Khan nor Zac Goldsmith pulled any punches in City A.M.'s mayoral hustings, where the candidates traded blows on stage across a range of key issues.

Here are the best bits.

On the campaign trail

Zac Goldsmith had this to say:

In recent days Sadiq Khan has accused my campaign of being islamophobic …. Sadiq I have never referred to you by your religion. But there are serious questions about you and your judgement.

Sadiq Khan hit back:

I have been fighting extremism all my adult life. The point is this: there is a very good reason why Zac is spending his time talking about me. Because this man has no vision for our city.

Goldsmith's campaign has come under fire of late for allegedly attempting to smear Khan's campaign. Camp Khan has said that Goldsmith's campaign has gone so far as to risk putting Muslims off taking part in politics.

But Goldsmith has been fighting back, saying that Khan's team is trying to silence questions about his links by shamelessly accusing anyone who raises them of being islamophobic.

Listen to it here:

On the European Union

The Richmond Park Tory MP said:

London is successful not because it is part of the EU. This is not a mayoral policy. The job of the next mayor is to make work whatever is the choice of the British people. I believe if we stay in we can make it work. If we leave I believe we have a bright and glorious future ahead of us.

Meanwhile, the Tooting MP said:

Put aside the social benefits, security benefits. The EU brings great economic benefits. More than half of our exports go to the EU. The idea that the Mayor of London will cross his arms and stay silent over the next six weeks is absurd.

Why take the risk with our future?

On London's economy

When it comes to using the office of the Mayor of London to support the capital's economy, Khan said:

The mayor doesn't create the jobs, he creates the circumstances under which they can be created.

It's key to prioritise the training up and skilling up for all of those in London. Skills for Londoners will do what it says on the tin... Train the youngsters of tomorrow.

I will have London's first chief digital officer in mayor's hall.

Goldsmith's thoughts were:

It's about infrastructure and housing. In digital terms we are miles behind - that's a problem that can be solved very easily by using the Transport for London network.

Here in the UK, the mayor needs to continue to put pressure on the government to make [us] an as competitive tax environment as is possible.

Both did find some agreement: they applauded Boris Johnson for banging the drum for London.

On transport

The Conservative mayoral candidate said:

There is not a transport expert in London, including in the Labour party, who believe you can take £1.9bn out of the TfL budget and continue to grow the network.

Sadiq Khan has given himself a blank cheque on council tax, because he's going to have to find extreme ways to raise that £1.9bn black hole.

Labour's mayoral candidate said:

I can't think of many businesses that have not gone through huge changes for the better. TfL is good but flabby... it is inefficient and needs huge improvement.

I will keep my promise that you will pay not a penny more in 2020 than you do now. I will also keep council tax as low as possible. There are no plans to raise council tax.

On experience

The Richmond Park MP said:

It is important you look at the record. My record shows I was elected against the odds, and I won against the odds. I've worked for my constituency and held government to account.

Khan said:

I've got experience of running a successful business in London. I've had the sleepless nights thinking about getting overdrafts extended, if you can pay wages and find skilled staff.

I've been an MP who has been a minister, working with businesses to get them on side.

If you think being a great backbench MP is enough to be Mayor of London, there are many good backbench MPs. But who has got the experience?

On housing

Zac Goldsmith said:

The only longterm answer is to build more homes. My pledge is to build half a million more homes. I'll do that by getting the government to release publicly owned land.

He also talked of a meeting he had with Shelter, the housing charity. Rent controls won't work, Goldsmith said was the outcome of that.

Sadiq Khan said:

The housing issue has grown under the Tories. Why should things be any different with Zac as mayor?

I will make sure the homes that are built are genuinely affordable.

Sadiq also reckons he can deliver shared ownership homes in London with a deposit of £5,000 to £6,000 and monthly rent of £1,000.

Both say that building on the greenbelt is not necessary.

Listen to that here:

Related articles