Labour’s candidate for Mayor Sadiq Khan travelled to his rival’s home soil as he visited Richmond’s Age UK branch in the Barnes Green Centre on Friday.

FROM TUESDAY: Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith talks Brexit, diversity and London's housing crisis during Tooting visit

The Tooting MP was quick to applaud innovative services offered by the organisation, including the new Nightingale service, which supports elderly patients following a hospital visit and has already met its annual target of supporting 115 since the pilot scheme’s inception in September 2015.

Mr Khan said: “One of the things I have been doing during the campaign is to crowd source the best ideas people have because if you can do something in one part of London you can think about scaling it up.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Mr Khan discusses the Nightingale scheme with Age UK trustee Veronica Schroter

“We have got a rising population of older people thanks to the advances in medical science and I hate the phrase but one of the challenges we face is “bed-blocking” and this is a really interesting idea that could ensure patients can leave hospital and get the after-care they need.”

Mr Khan’s Conservative rival for the city hall job, Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith, confirmed over the weekend he would be backing UK’s exit from Europe, which is one of the key areas in which the candidates differ.

Mr Khan said: “I think it is impossible to be a good Mayor of London and not be pro-Europe.

“More than half of London’s manufacturing is exported to Europe.

“I am not saying it [the UK’s EU situation] is perfect but I will be campaigning with David Cameron.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Prime Minister David Cameron is campaigning to stay in the EU

“Where I am impressed with David Cameron is he made a promise to have a referendum and he is doing that.

“Where I am not impressed is we are not stupid – you can’t just come back and say ‘look what I have got’ and expect us to applaud and agree it is the best deal.”

The Labour man, currently at 1/3 to Mr Goldsmith's 2/1 to take over from Boris Johnson according to bookmakers PaddyPower, joins Mr Goldsmith in opposing a third runway at Heathrow, and instead is backing Gatwick Airport for expansion.

Mr Khan said: “I accept the case that we need more airport capacity in this part of the country.

“My solution is to build a new runway at Gatwick. It has never breached any air quality directive. We would still get the jobs and the growth.

“Heathrow needs to raise its game.

“The last full year for which we have data almost 10,000 Londoners died because of air quality.

“There are children in parts of London whose lungs are under developed because of poor air quality.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Sadiq Khan is against a third runway at Heathrow and backs expansion at Gatwick

Mr Khan, a former human rights lawyer, agreed the capital’s biggest problem by quite a margin was housing.

He said: “Homes are being sold before they are even built, off-plan to people overseas.

“We have got doctors and teachers who can’t afford to live in London.

“Why don’t we say to developers you can’t sell homes off plan to people overseas.”

Mr Khan proposed a “Homes for London” scheme that would mean homes are built on Tfl land, the free-hold is maintained and tenants are charged a London living rent of a third of the area’s average income.

Figures show 871 people aged between 18 and 25 slept rough in London in 2014/15, a rise of 16 per cent over a year and 40 per cent from 2011.

Mr Khan said the problem was a complicated one, as many homeless people and rough sleepers had issues with mental health, alcohol and drug use.

He said: “We should not have anybody sleeping rough in London, for even one night, so we need to find out as much as we can about why it happens, and stop it at the root.”

Mr Khan stressed that he understood the difficulties faced by business owners and insisted it was important the Mayor be given power over business rates in London.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Boris Johnson with Twickenham MP Tania Mathias and Zac Goldsmith

He said: “We could give businesses discount rates if they pay the London Living Wage and that is an example of what could be done if you are given the power over these business rates and keep it within the capital.”

He admitted Boris Johnson had done a good job of promoting London overseas, but referred back to a mini-rugby game in Tokyo the current Mayor took part in during the summer and said: “I cannot promise that I will almost kill a 10-year-old Japanese boy like he did though.”

For more information about Age UK services visit