Barkingside shoppers grill mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone

Shoppers got the chance to challenge London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone on a host of crunch issues as he walked through the heart of Barkingside on Monday.

Housing, transport, care for the elderly and healthcare in the borough were all put on the table as the Labour politician spent about two hours in High Street, Barkingside.

Mum-of-one Sarah Rogers, of Barkingside, was about to start a weekly shop in Iceland when she got the chance to meet the candidate for next year’s election.

After challenging him about the shortage of housing in the borough, she told the Recorder: “Housing is a really big issue.

“I told him we need more housing to help people with kids.

“He said next year there will be so we’ll see.”

Pensioner David Trown took his two minutes with Mr Livingstone to urge him to help save King George Hospital’s A&E and labour ward from closure.

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The 81-year-old of Clayhall said afterwards: “I had a cancer operation at King George last year and they treated me really well.

“It’s so important that they keep it intact.”

The mayoral candidate, who served as London mayor from 2000 to 2008 before being ousted by Tory candidate Boris Johnson, was also praised for policies he had implemented during his time at City Hall.

Estelle Saunders and her husband Marc of Clayhall thanked him for introducing the freedom pass, which gives free travel on the Capital’s transport network.

Mr Livingstone’s first port of call when he arrived in Barkingside was Barkingside Police Station, where he met officers from the Sapphire unit, which specialises in investigating rape and sexual assault cases.

He concluded his visit by meeting borough activists, including members of campaign group Barkingside 21, in the Delicieuse cafe in High Street.

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