I am sorry to hear that Richard Tracey, London Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth, has announced he will not seek re-election in next May’s London elections.
He has served the whole term of Boris Johnson’s Mayoralty and is deputy leader of the City Hall Conservative Group, lead spokesman on transport, the Mayor’s Ambassador for River Transport, driving forward the rapid expansion of river bus and freight traffic on the Thames, and Chairman of the London Waste and Recycling Board.
From 1983 to 1997 he was the MP for Surbiton, during which time he was an Environment Minister in Margaret Thatcher’s Government. He also served on the Public Accounts Committee. He was previously a professional broadcaster and presenter for the BBC after university and spent his early activist years as chairman of Wandsworth Conservatives.
“I have very much enjoyed my time at the Assembly and also working closely with the borough councillors in Wandsworth and Merton. It is now time to hand over the baton to someone else to take things forward with expected further devolution to London.”
What I have noticed is the was that he has championed the interests of commuters. One area where he has put in a lot of work is the proposal for driverless trains. The misery of tube strikes would be ended by his scheme for binding arbitration. He has proposed turning off traffic lights at night. There was also increasing the scope for travel by river – not least for his constituents in Putney with the expansion of the Thames Clipper Service.
Improving the transport system in London is a basic priority for the Greater London Authority. Richard Tracey has shown that some ways of doing it would not cost money. I suspect that some of his ideas will continue to be pursued even after he stands down.