It would appear that Ken Livingstone thinks he will have a chance of being returning as London Mayor next year if he manages to spout entirely contradictory policy positions to different audiences over the next thirteen months.
His official transport policy document – still available on his campaign website as a pdf – makes an unequivocal statement:
Yet today's Evening Standard carried a piece headlined "Ken Livingstone: I won't bring back the C-charge extension if I'm Mayor" in which the former mayor said that given the cost of re-introducing the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge,
"I'd much rather spend that money on front-line policing and keeping the fares down."
And in a piece of rank hypocrisy from the man who increased the cost of the GLA year after year (in contrast to Boris Johnson who has been freezing the GLA precept on the council tax), Livingstone added:
"That's the single most important thing at the moment, to not do anything that takes money out of Londoners' pockets."
Excuse my cynicism, but with his record I simply don't believe him. Indeed, when asked how he could afford his various plans by MayorWatch in March, he explicitly said he would not be revealing his financial strategy, saying to the interviewer "On the morning after the election I'll let you know," with a customary chuckle.
In other words, on the Congestion Charge, as indeed for any area of policy, Livingstone simply cannot be trusted.