Ken Livingstone is ready to slay Mayor Boris Johnson in a battle which could reach Star Wars-esque proportions this May.
The Labour candidate has no doubt he will send the Tory incumbent packing when Londoners take to the polls in less than eight weeks.
“I feel like Luke Skywalker,” he said when quizzed about the impending contest. “Skywalker in the last fight with Darth Vader – we all know who won that.”
The confident candidate, a long-term supporter of the Irish in Britain, was attending a reception hosted by The London Irish Construction Network in London.
The outing, where he was guest speaker, was his first among the Irish since Boris shocked the community with his anti-Irish St Patrick’s Day Ball gaffe earlier this year.
Responding on the incident for the first time, Mr Livingstone told us: “What Boris said about the St Pat’s event was not even a gaffe – it’s who he is. He knows well the St Pat’s Ball made money and that it was not a Sinn Féin dinner, but every now and again he just reverts to his old Daily Telegraph prejudices. He spends half the time living in a fantasy world in old England, not Britain, where he thinks that England is the apex of civilisation and everyone else in several rungs below.”
With Boris not even deemed competition by Livingstone, “he is very charming but very lazy and the job of Mayor needs a workhorse”, he adds, he will spend his campaign outlining his pledges to Londoners if elected as Mayor once again.
He claims the Irish community will be a high priority during his term.
“Two two thirds of the jobs that have been lost in London have been in construction,” he said.
“This hits the traditional Irish community hardest. What they and all Londoners need now is for London to start building again.”
He added: “And the tragedy of 100 years of Irish emigration to London is that neither the British nor Irish government put anything official in place to provide for those men who worked hard here in construction all their lives and now are now old and alone in the city they built and we live in.
“I will ensure there is a person appointed in the Mayor’s office to liaise directly with the Irish community, particularly on the issues facing its most vulnerable, and with local councils and central government on their behalf.”
But if he does steal back his former role Livingstone claims the very first thing he must do is ‘give the Mayor’s office an extremely thorough cleaning’.