London mayor election: Siobhan Benita launches manifesto

The only Independent candidate standing in London's mayoral race has pledged to back a third runway for Heathrow airport if elected.

Former civil servant Siobhan Benita would also freeze transport fares until 2014 and extend the Tube by an extra hour on weekends.

She would make housing fixed-price, build 80,000 affordable homes and hold an independent review of Scotland Yard.

Ms Benita said her policies showed she had a "very social agenda".

Launching her manifesto, she said she had "strong and creative ideas across all policy areas" and promised she would not shy away from "tough commercial decisions".

"I may be an Independent candidate, but that doesn't mean I am a single-issue candidate.

"My manifesto demonstrates that I can challenge the mainstream political parties from the thoughtful centre and not the wilder extremes, as one political commentator correctly put it."

Her manifesto includes five key promises:

  • A new fixed-price housing market for London and 80,000 low-cost new homes which will never be sold into the private market
  • An education commissioner as well as a youth mayor to be appointed and 167 primary schools built
  • Libraries protected and every child given a library card
  • A full, independent review of the Metropolitan Police, to cut out inefficiency and discrimination in the force and nurture mutual respect and support between the public and the Met
  • Establish an Office of Budget Responsibility for London to bring in better financial management and permanently end vanity projects at City Hall.

A spokeswoman for Labour candidate Ken Livingstone said: "Ken very much welcomes Siobhan Benita's contribution to this election debate - a range of voices should be heard."

"Ken's policies will make Londoners a £1000 or more better off by cutting fares, restoring EMA, taking action on the cost of rents and childcare."

Conservative candidate Boris Johnson is yet to comment on Ms Benita's policies.

His manifesto includes a pledge to cut Tube delays by a further 30% by 2015 and to introduce a 1,000-strong police taskforce to tackle gangs.

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