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What a knock-out as Boris takes on protesters at boxing venue

PUBLISHED: 02:23 07 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:09 05 October 2010

Question Time for Boris at York Hall

Question Time for Boris at York Hall

Carmen Valino

BORIS Johnson faced knock out’ questions from a punchy audience when he took his Mayors’ Question Time’ to the East End’s famous York Hall boxing venue. More than 600 people packed the place for a two-hour Q&A with the Mayor of London on hot topics including council tax and whether staging the 2012 Olympics in East London will really create the jobs East Enders desperately need

By Else Kvist

BORIS Johnson faced knock out’ questions from a punchy audience when he took his Mayors’ Question Time’ to the East End’s famous York Hall boxing venue.

More than 600 people packed the place for a two-hour Q&A with the Mayor of London on hot topics including council tax and whether staging the 2012 Olympics in East London will really create the jobs East Enders desperately need.

There was no sign of any punch up on Thursday night at the Bethnal Green venue that had seen some of Britain’s biggest boxing matches of the 20th century, now converted to a leisure centre.

But there were protesters outside waving banners for different causes, each vying for media limelight with Boris’s roadshow drawing the London crowds.

They included campaigners as diverse as protesters against a third Heathrow Airport runway and a small group of East End pensioners fighting for their local S2 bus to be rerouted back to the big Tesco’s at Bromley-by-Bow where they do their weekly shopping.

Inside the packed hall, another pensioner, 79-year-old Alf Morris, was trying to ask the Mayor to see his way to giving some cash for a memorial to Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster, when 173 people died in a stampede during a false air-raid alert just 300 yards from York Hall itself.

Alf was one of the survivors of the tragedy in March, 1943, when he was 13. He was buoyed up by the announcement the night before that Tower Hamlets council was giving the memorial campaign £100,000.

But poor Alf didn’t manage to get his question into Boris during the two-hour session. The mayor had run out of time by 9pm, and peddled off on his bike back to City Hall.


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