The sixth person shortlisted to be the Conservative Mayoral candidate answering our questions is Duwayne Brooks. He is a Stop and Search consultant who used to be a Liberal Democrat councillor in Lewisham.
Why are you standing for Mayor of London?
I believe that London is the greatest city on Earth and deserves a leader that can connect with people from all backgrounds.
This election is also a crucial opportunity for us, as Conservatives, to send a positive message to voters about the change our party can bring to the capital. From tackling social injustice, fighting crime, to driving innovation and supporting entrepreneurialism, we have an exciting story to tell.
The current Mayor has his eyes on the Labour leadership and clearly has no interest in facing-up to the serious challenges facing our city. I cannot sit back and let this happen.
As your candidate, I won’t shy away from difficult decisions or make choices based on shallow political calculations. I’m ready to run a positive campaign that will take our message to the doorsteps of every borough, and ensure the Conservatives have a strong voice in the capital.
What sort of campaign should the Conservatives run?
The Conservative party is all about personal responsibility and empowerment, so we need to paint a positive vision for what our city can achieve.
Everywhere we go, I will ensure we infect voters with the buzz of positive change. A simple message of ‘we deserve better’ alongside a set of clear policies designed to change the daily lives of Londoners is key.
My campaign will transcend class, culture, and religion as I champion what we, as Londoners, all have in common. I will encourage us all to respect the differences we have in the way we live our lives, bring up our children or run our businesses, remembering it is those differences which empower diversity which in turn makes London one of the greatest cities in the world to live, work and play in.
The current Mayor’s record is so bad, Londoners are already acutely aware of his failures in office. So we can concentrate on running a completely positive campaign, with practical solutions and tangible policies.
What would you do to reduce crime ?
Crime in London has rocketed under Sadiq Khan.
Instead of admitting the problem and taking action, the Mayor has shamelessly tried to blame everyone but himself.
Last June the Mayor launched his Knife Crime Strategy. Before then he published his Police and Crime Plan for London with the quote, ‘the safety of Londoners is my first priority’.
He is failing Londoners by allowing violent crime to take over our streets. Since June 2017 we have had 142 homicides across London. 88 of those stabbed to death! Not forgetting the 100’s that have been saved by our wonderful surgeons but have been left with life-changing injuries.
For a start I would stop ploughing money into the police service and invest more in local community services. Police officers driving around the streets detecting crime cannot stop the tidal wave of violence we are seeing.
I want to create avenues of engagement that allow those who are not heard, to express themselves openly in a safe environment. I would create a London wide Youth Offending Service information sharing network that only worked with those who are in need. I would employ London-wide detached youth workers alongside early intervention teams whose primary job would be to engage and work with schools and parents to “squash the small beef” that currently escalates into violence.
What would you do about housing?
Housing standards across London are falling at an alarming rate. Many people are stuck in homes too small for their families, damp-infested and poorly maintained. Just like his predecessor, Ken, the current Mayor made house-building promises he cannot deliver.
It’s all too easy to promise more new-builds and not deliver or be waiting 18 months for promised new builds to become available. I want to help families now. I can start by encouraging housing associations and private landlords to fix and improve the properties they have with grants / loans. Support local authority building programmes allowing more social housing to be built quicker. I will also look at leasing prime building land to save on initial costs to allow rents to be kept low.
I will work with London boroughs to bring back local targets for the building of family homes with completion incentives from City Hall and the government.
I also promise to protect leaseholders across London who have found themselves on many occasions becoming a cash cow for greedy landlords who continually provide shoddy repairs and poor maintenance.
What would you do to improve transport?
The Mayor’s policy to freeze fares was a gimmick that has hit London harder than he envisaged. With 20 million fewer journeys on the tube and 15 million fewer journeys on the buses, that decision to freeze fares has backfired. Sadly it has backfired on all of us who use an ageing transport network.
We have already seen upgrades to the trains on the Jubilee and Northern Lines shelved, a failure to fulfil a promised extension of the Metropolitan line, and a suspension of a road maintenance programme, not forgetting Khan’s cuts to bus services across London.
I would raise fares now with the narrative that a better invested transport system is safer, more reliable, and cleaner, than a neglected, creaking system.
Every Londoner who uses public transport understands its value, understands its importance, and understands it requires continual investment to keep us and our city moving.