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Ken Livingstone, the Labour candidate for mayor of London in next month’s election, attacked plans to allow executives from companies sponsoring the 2012 London Olympic Games to drive past other traffic in reserved “VIP lanes.”
“We should say everybody on a bus is a VIP,” Livingstone told a lunch for parliamentary reporters in London today. “It’s all bloody McDonald’s and Coca-Cola executives in these lanes. It’s not the athletes, they’re in the village.”
Londoners are currently being targeted by a poster campaign urging them to prepare for difficulties getting around the city during the Olympics. The games organizers say it’s necessary to reserve parts of the road network for Olympic vehicles to ensure competitors can move around the British capital quickly during the event that runs from July 27 to Aug. 12.
Livingstone is trailing Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson in opinion polls before the May 3 election. He was the first person to win election as mayor when the post was established in 2000 and had the job for two terms before losing to Johnson in 2008.
As well as urging Coca-Cola Co. (KO) and McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) executives to use the underground rail network instead of limousines, Livingstone told journalists the U.S. should have put Osama Bin Laden on trial rather than killing him in an attack on his compound in Pakistan last year.
“I was appalled to see Osama Bin Laden in his pajamas shot dead in front of his kid,” Livingstone said.
He said that if elected, he will seek funding in the markets for infrastructure projects including housing and transport networks. Livingstone floated the possibility of a bond issue or of persuading investment funds to deliver such projects directly.
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