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In London, both Conservative and Labour mayoral candidates talk housing crisis

The UK's Conservative Party has selected the son of a billionaire in its party primary. The Labour Party has fielded a former cabinet minister whose father emigrated from Pakistan.

In an online poll Friday, Britain's Conservatives selected the member of parliament, Zac Goldsmith, an environmental campaigner, to be its candidate.

Goldsmith, an avowed euroskeptic, is the former editor of "The Ecologist" magazine and hails from a prominent wealthy family. The 40-year-old parliamentarian said the city's housing crisis, environmental concerns and improving transit would be his focus if elected.

"Londoners are being priced out of their city and we will need a step change in the number of homes built, and the manner in which they are built," Goldsmith said.

Labour's candidate talks inequality

London Bürgermeister Wahl Kandidat Sadiq Khan

Labour's London Mayoral Candidate Sadiq Khan is a former cabinet minister from humble roots.

He faces Sadiq Khan, a 44-year-old former human rights lawyer who had served in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government in 2010.

His father emigrated to Britain from Pakistan and had driven a city bus. Khan has vowed to tackle London's disparate inequalities with the city home to some of the country's richest and poorest citizens.

"My priorities for Londoners are clear: an affordable and secure home to rent or buy," Khan said last month.

It's perhaps unsurprising that housing costs are at the cornerstone of both campaigns. London is the fifth most expensive city in the world to live in but wage levels have failed to keep up compared to other major centers, a report by Swiss Bank UBS has found.

The mayor of London has the second-largest direct electoral mandate of any politician in Europe, behind only the French president, overseeing policing, transport and housing.

London has had two elected mayors since the post was created in 2000, both prominent political figures. Labour's left-wing Ken Livingstone ran the city from 2000 to 2008 and blonde-haired bicycle aficionado Conservative Boris Johnson has been in charge since then.

The election is scheduled for May 5 next year.

jar/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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