Boris Johnson offers his support to Brent library campaigners

Conservative mayoral candidate says he admires the crusade to save six branches

Boris Johnson has offered his support to Brent’s library campaigners – describing the decision to axe half of the borough’s reading rooms as “a real shame”.

The mayoral candidate spoke out about the controversial closures as he visited residents and traders in Preston Road, Wembley, last week.

Preston Library, in nearby Carlton Avenue East, was one of the six branches axed by the council last October in a �1million cost-cutting measure.

Mr Johnson spoke to the Times exclusively about the controversial issue.

He said: “I think it is a great shame. It’s very sad what’s happened to the libraries in Brent. I read that Brent had closed more libraries than anywhere else in the country. Closing them is something that is actually avoidable as there are boroughs that have actually opened libraries recently.

“I think Hammersmith is one of them so it goes to show that they are still used.”

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Despite 82 per cent of respondents to a council consultation saying they were against the closures, they were closed for good.

In addition to Preston, Barham Park, Cricklewood, Neasden, Tokyngton and Kensal Rise were also shut permanently.

Since the decision was announced campaigners have fought tirelessly to re-open the buildings.

Despite two failed court cases they have vowed not to give up.

Mr Johnson added: “I have heard about the efforts of the campaigners and various community events they have held to fight for them and I admire them for that.”