The seven leading contenders to be the next Mayor of London – including the likes of Sadiq Khan, Zac Goldsmith and George Galloway – took part in an online-only hustings hosted on 11 of Archant’s London websites
Mr Khan (Labour), Mr Goldsmith (Conservative) and Mr Galloway (Respect) were joined by Sian Berry (Green), Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat), Sophie Walker (Women’s Equality Party) and Peter Whittle (Ukip) for the hour-long event, which took place on Monday evening.
From 6pm to 7pm, readers were able to log on to one of 11 London sites and ask questions directly to the seven candidates – and they did in droves on topics as diverse as London’s housing problems, crime, airport expansion and whether they had ever used the Emirates cable car (one had, six had not).
Matt Withers, executive editor (digital) for London, who organised and moderated the hustings, said getting the event in place had been a huge but worthwhile challenge.
He said: “Finding a date and time which was suitable for all seven main candidates, including two leading MPs, required negotiations which made David Cameron’s recent efforts in Brussels look like small beer. And that was before we’d even touched on the rules for the event.
“But once we’d got everyone signed up and agreed, the enthusiasm with which both candidates and readers took to it was fantastic and made all the effort worthwhile.
“We were inundated with questions days before the event began and it continued throughout the event. Exhausting as it was, it’s exactly the sort of thing we think Archant should be doing for our readers.”
The event was promoted in advance in both print and online and followed up with stories in all titles. It was hosted on the sites of the Barking and Dagenham Post, Brent & Kilburn Times, Docklands & East London Advertiser, Hackney Gazette, Ham & High, Ilford Recorder, Islington Gazette, London24, Newham Recorder, Romford Recorder and Tottenham Journal.