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Goldsmith and Khan snub infrastructure debate

London City Hall   20090804

The two main candidates to be London’s next mayor have withdrawn from a live infrastructure debate tonight.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative Zac Goldsmith will both send campaign representatives to the London Infrastructure Debate.

Organised by a collection of engineering membership bodies, the event will be streamed online as it happens at 6:30pm today.

Sian Berry of the Green Party, Caroline Pidgeon from the Liberal Democrats, and UK Independence Party candidate Peter Whittle will all attend.

Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: “We are exceedingly disappointed that, at the last minute, neither Zac Goldsmith nor Sadiq Khan will honour their commitment to debate about London’s infrastructure future.

“ACE is exceedingly concerned about whether politicians realise the vital importance that infrastructure plays in the lives of Londoners, or has realistically come to terms with the steep infrastructure challenges ahead for London if the city wishes to remain globally competitive.”

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said: “Unfortunately Sadiq was not able to attend the debate and Val Shawcross attended and spoke on his behalf.

”Sadiq has made clear throughout the campaign that London desperately needs more capacity on public transport if we’re to cope with a growing city, open up new sites for affordable homes and promote jobs and businesses.

”He believes we need to be thinking bigger and bolder – that’s why he’ll start planning the infrastructure of the future straight away, take a long-term approach to meeting London’s transport needs and work with businesses and Londoners to identify the areas of London that will be served by the next major transport projects as a potential Crossrail 3, orbital routes and river crossings.”

The Goldsmith campaign team has been contacted for comment.

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