London Mayor Boris Johnson quizzed in Stratford at People’s Question Time

For the second week running, curious passersby surrounded the Old Town Hall in Stratford tonight.

For the second week running, curious passersby surrounded the Old Town Hall in Stratford tonight.

But this time, it was not to hear news of a “mega-mosque” but to catch a glimpse of the distinctive blond thatch of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson entering the council building on the Broadway for People’s Question Time.

If he came in through the front doors, he would have been regaled with transport-themed Christmas carols sung by disability rights and fair access activists Transport for All who were stationed outside in the freezing cold, waiting for their message to be heard.

Members of the Greater London Assembly take the People’s Question Time panel through all 32 London boroughs but it settled in Stratford this evening to give Londoners the opportunity to quiz their Mayor and Assembly about their current plans, priorities and policies for the capital.

The Mayor began: “It seems like another age that this place Stratford was the epicentre of the greatest festival of sport ever seen” before noting that he got the Jubilee Line to the event as Stratford was now “the best connected station in the whole country”.

Talk of affordable housing followed Nicky Gavron, Londonwide Labour member, criticised the low level of social housing in the Olympic Park while many Games Makers in the audience asked the Mayor to pledge to “keep the flame alive”.

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The Mayor said: “Building tens of thousands of new homes is the best thing we can do to get the economy moving” and promised to plough around �30m into primary school sports while appointing a volunteers co-ordinator to get skills acquired through volunteering recognised by employers.

Localised representations were made by residents of the Carpenters Estate - an issue the Mayor suggest was dealt with through Newham Council - and the rejection of a planning application a week ago for a “mega-mosque” on the Riverine Centre site in West Ham but the Mayor said he was “legally fettered” by what he could say in case the application comes before the Assembly at a later date.

Transport was another popular topic with fare increases of 4.2 per cent proposed and 14 cycle deaths on London’s roads this year.

Green Party member Jenny Jones said the roads were getting more dangerous for cyclists while the Mayor spoke of his desire to expand his Barclays hire scheme into Newham in the future after initial problems along Romford Road.

A New York style 24-hour tube system was suggested by a member of the audience but the Mayor said a lot more investment in the system was needed on “one of the oldest transport networks in the world” before that could be achieved.

One Stratford resident ended the evening by asking whether the Mayor he would rather be captain of the England football team or the leader of the Conservative party. Mayor Johnson smiled as he replied: “I am very lucky to be Mayor of London”.