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Locals call on new Mayor Boris for action

PUBLISHED: 17:56 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:16 22 July 2010

LONDON - MAY 01:  London Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson arrives with wife Marina before casting his vote at Laycock Primary School on May 1, 2008 in London, England. According to reports the race between incumbent Ken Livingstone and Johnson is neck and neck.  (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

LONDON - MAY 01: London Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson arrives with wife Marina before casting his vote at Laycock Primary School on May 1, 2008 in London, England. According to reports the race between incumbent Ken Livingstone and Johnson is neck and neck. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

HIGHBURY Corner newsagent Harendra Bhatt was so desperate for his long-term customer Boris Johnson to become London Mayor he promised to drop everything at 24 hours' notice to help the campaign.

Neighbour Mary Lestrange

HIGHBURY Corner newsagent Harendra Bhatt was so desperate for his long-term customer Boris Johnson to become London Mayor he promised to drop everything at 24 hours' notice to help the campaign.

He is thrilled Boris has won, but now wants action - like many of the shopkeepers on the doorstep of the new mayor's four-storey semi in Furlong Road, Holloway.

Boris may live in a palatial-looking pile but it is not set in a Georgian square in the heart of a Barnsbury enclave. It is just off Holloway Road, five minutes' walk from a minicab office, a fast-food takeaway and a community pub - and not far from the nightclub where five people were recently stabbed outside during a weekend brawl.

It may seem like traditional Labour territory but a number of shopkeepers voted for their famous neighbour in a bid to crack down on crime.

Newsagent Harendra Bhatt

Boris had supported Mr Bhatt after the plucky businessman used a baseball bat to fend off an attack on his Highbury Corner kiosk - and faced being prosecuted.

Mr Bhatt said: "When he passed by here, I said: 'If you need me in a public meeting, I will cover my business and support you. Just give me 24 hours' notice and I will support your campaign against crime."

Mr Bhatt, who regularly sees Boris's wife Marina Wheeler as well as their children Lara Lettice, 14, Milo Arthur, 13, Cassia Peaches, 10 and Theodore Apollo, eight, knows what he wants done first.

He said: "Stop the bendy buses. It's a free for all. The taxpayer is paying for those unpaid tickets."

Minicab controller Zaf Mo of Kwik Cars, Holloway Road, also voted for Boris - who he said used their cabs to go to Westminster three to four times a week, and always left a tip.

Mr Mo said: "I voted for him and got all my family - 75 of us - to vote for him. I drive a four-by-four and Ken Livingstone wanted to put a £25-a-day charge on such cars. I am running a business - I can't come by bus."

Mr Mo added: "He has got to do something about the housing. There is too much crime on estates. He has also got to encourage the family. Where there is a mum and dad, there is a family, where there is a family, there is discipline. I have told him that lots of times."

But Mr Mo did have words of warning. He said: "He is going to have to smarten himself up. Boris is someone whose hair you could ruffle and you would expect him not to mind."

But a worker at Mississippi Chicken and Ribs in Holloway Road had never heard of Boris while landlord Mark Beard, of The Bailey pub at the corner of Holloway Road and Furlong Road, voted for "the other guy" - because Boris was a "clown".

He said Boris regularly jogged past and added: "I would like him to do everything that he said he was going to do - tackle crime and disorder. The main problem around here is crime.


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