MAYORAL candidate Ken Livingstone claimed this week that his rival Boris Johnson could have prevented the London riots.
Mr Livingstone made the claim while visiting Ealing town centre on Tuesday to meet police and residents and discuss his pledge to reverse cuts to police numbers.
Mr Livingstone believes that Mr Johnson should have moved more quickly to apologise to Mark Duggan’s parents, after their son was shot dead by police in Tottenham on August 4, precipitating the start of the riots.
He said: “You might have avoided the riots if the mayor had been there to meet Mark Duggan’s parents and not just been standing outside Tottenham police station. You’ve got to intervene rapidly and that can prevent an incident from turning really nasty.”
Mr Livingstone then compared Mark Duggan’s shooting with that of John Charles de Menezes, who was shot by police at Stockwell Tube station during his own tenure at City Hall in 2005.
“When we had the accidental killing of John Charles de Menezes by the police, I was immediately on the radio and TV apologising and we sent the assistant police commissioner on a plane to apologise to his parents in Brazil,” said Mr Livingstone.
He also suggested government policy was partly to blame for the summer’s disorder.
“If you suddenly have a savage increase in unemployment and cuts, it creates the bed into which something can suddenly erupt and then you just need a trigger. This time it was the killing of Mark Duggan,” he said.