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April 1, 2012

Ken’s taxpayer-funded life of luxury.

Extensive first-class travel including £6,405 on a return ticket to Miami, £2,884 on a single wine spree, £257 on a pair of shoes, £334 on dinner with Ed Balls, £282 on a second dinner with Ed Balls, £136 on a desk lamp, £41 on a shirt, a £42 ‘emergency passport’, £475 on four cases of Rioja, £299 on three cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, £95 on six half bottles of cognac, £131 on taxi trips to the dentist.

As revealed in today’s Mail on Sunday, these are just a few of the personal purchases made by Ken Livingstone when Mayor, all entirely paid for by the London taxpayer. He even obtained a quotation for a mini-bar for his personal office. All whilst increasing council tax by 152% during his mayoralty, costing the average London household an extra £964.

The revelations make a mockery of virtually everything Ken’s claimed in this election campaign. He insists he’s a man of the people, in touch with the concerns of ordinary voters, yet he made those very voters fund his extravagant lifestyle. And he claims he wants to put money back into the pockets of Londoners, yet has evidently never had any such interest in the past.

There’s something else here, too. Ken has had the temerity to call Boris a “pickpocket” for increasing fares and investment, yet himself embezzled Londoners’ cash to fund his own lavish lifestyle. While Boris has driven costs down - he’s already made over £2billion of savings across the Greater London Authority – Ken threw cash around as if it grew on trees. Boris’ aides have today explained that he’s never used a City Hall credit card, he only ever buys economy-class travel tickets, he rarely dines at public expense (and publishes all details of such events), and he rarely takes taxis, preferring to cycle around London.

Boris respects the financial sacrifice that households make in paying taxes, and understands the duty and responsibility that politicians have in ensuring the money is properly spent. Ken treated the taxpayers’ money as if it was a gift from Londoners with which he could do whatever he chose.

Ken’s website says “Londoners can’t afford a mayor who is so out of touch”. The irony is painful.

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