Angie Bray asks how much for Ken's Venezuelan visit

Mayor's trip questioned by Ealing and Acton candidate

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Angie Bray, Conservative leader on the London Assembly and now prospective Conservative candidate for the new constituency of Ealing Central and Acton asked searching questions tonight about where the money for Ken Livingstone's controversial trip to Venezuela came from. London's Mayor was apparently snubbed by President Chavez when he visited Venezuela this week, despite having shown him hospitality in May when Chavez visited London. Livingstone and several aides visited the Venezuelan capital and Angie asked how much their trip cost.

After Chavez's May trip to London, Ms Bray criticised Ken for a proposed deal to get cheap Venezuelan oil for London's buses. The London mayor's officials were in discussion with the Venezuelan President. They were offering help on issues such as transport and the environment in return for the oil. Ms Bray questioned the impact it would have on Venezuela's poor, while the Greens pointed out that Livingstone should be reducing the city's dependence on fossil fuels.

Proposals for the London deal included offering the city's experts in environmental and transport issues as consultants to the civic authority in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. But news of the discussions angered some of Mr Livingstone's political rivals.

Angie Bray said: "Ken Livingstone and the President of Venezuela should be ashamed of themselves for even contemplating such a proposal. I'm sure the 35% of Venezuelans who struggle below the poverty line, many of them critically so, would be shocked at the cynical siphoning off of their main asset to provide one of the world's most prosperous cities with cheap oil."

Today Ms Bray raised her voice again against Ken Livingstone's actions.

November 13, 2006