The event drew wide attention with a palpable, partisan tension at a packed JW3. It has been a bitter, personal battle between the front-runners, Conservative Zac Goldsmith and Labour’s Sadiq Khan, with enough muck spread to send the fan flying halfway across Finchley.
Both performed well, but the others didn’t just make up the numbers. Green Party stand-in Jonathan Bartley particularly impressed, speaking passionately on key issues – even winning applause for his criticism of faith schools and the trend towards “segregation”.
Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon also won praise for insisting that faith schools “teach the curriculum”. But the main talking point was the much-anticipated Goldsmith-Khan duel.
Khan protected his weak spot (Corbyn) before the first question was even asked. Goldsmith was strong on security, and won points for prioritising social media as a megaphone for anti-Semitism, but was tackled on his commitment to improve disabled access.
Khan, meanwhile, showed he knew the community and its concerns, offering the fascinating prospect of an Islamic Mayor of London celebrating Chanukah in the Square. “Think of the impact,” he said.
A score draw. Questions on anti-Semitism, schools, welfare and whether their party leaderships were “a help or a hindrance” – combined with expert chairmanship from LJF’s Doug Krikler – kept everyone on-track. Which candidate is on track for City Hall is up to you.