The first to answer our questions is Andrew Rosindell, the Conservative MP for Romford.
Why are you standing for Mayor of London?
London is a global super-city, a financial capital and a cultural hub, but we are being let down by Sadiq Khan’s uninspiring and underachieving leadership. Khan is a notorious micro-manager, obsessed with his own image and status. He fails to deliver on crime, housing and transport. London needs a Mayor focused on delivering what ordinary Londoners need: safety and prosperity for all.
My plan as Mayor is to move Heaven and Earth to make London the Safest City in the World and the foremost international city of free enterprise, placing it at the heart of Global Britain. We must be confident about London with renewed energy and determination. I want to tackle these challenges head on. To reduce crime, we must get tough on crime. To be the foremost international city, we must engage with the world.
I have been a MP for seventeen years, having been the first Conservative “gain” in 2001 and have continuously demonstrated my ability to campaign and appeal to Labour voters and people from all backgrounds. Additionally, having visited countries in every continent and as a member of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee for eight years, I understand the importance of maintaining and improving people’s perspective of London and its place in the world.
I am standing for Mayor to promote a new kind of leadership in London with a bold, reforming Conservative Agenda for the Capital of the U.K.
What sort of campaign should the Conservatives run?
My Campaign will be open, honest and focused on raising awareness of what Londoners need: opportunity within a safe environment. We need a Mayor who has confidence in London and who will strive for the opportunities of being outside the European Union. I will unite inner and outer London, recognising that the former has been ignored while the latter has been let down.
I have a proven track record, building up my own majority and delivering 100 per cent local government election success two months ago in Romford, with every Conservative candidate elected.
I know how to appeal to voters and create a spirit of confidence within the community and will be prepared to confront the challenges people in London face, such as crime, transport and housing. London is the greatest city on earth because Londoners are creative and ambitious, and it deserves a positive and passionate Conservative campaign that will promote safety, hope and opportunity.
Should I be selected, I will start campaigning on day one. I will visit every community and speak to people in every corner of London to hear their views and share the positive and confident Conservative message London needs.
What would you do to reduce crime?
I will be tough on crime and do absolutely everything to crush gang violence and halt the shocking and appalling rise in violent crime. London is meant to be a safe and harmonious city, where families and young people can develop and enjoy their lives, but crime is becoming a dark cloud for us all.
We need to clamp down on criminals by giving the Police a significant increase in budget, which I will fight to secure from Government, and all the powers they need to eliminate gang culture and violent crime in particular. I want to see enhanced stop and search strategies and mandatory sentencing for the carrying of offensive weapons introduced without delay. We must give the police the powers and support they need to get on with the job.
I will also work with local councils to help fund additional Section 92 police officers. This will deliver extra crime fighters and additional funding to support community policing at local level. This will go hand in hand with a new preventative strategy to deal with youth violence.
Furthermore, I will aim to secure extra money for councils to enhance their youth services aimed at preventing the gang cultures which have caused so many issues across the whole of the London region, including in my own constituency.
What would you do about housing?
I will examine every option to deal with the enormous housing shortage in the London region. Khan’s efforts have simply not been good enough and I doubt he will meet his targets. We need to streamline and prioritise development in London.
For instance, I will look at working in tandem with councils to fund a series of joint ventures (JVs) within the ring-fenced Housing Revenue Accounts (HRAs). Through partnerships, council estates would be redeveloped and rejuvenated into mixed tenure estates and the private sales would support the extra provision of social units.
It is vitally important that we also look at increasing the supply of housing throughout the wider London region, specifically in and around those areas which have excellent transport connectivity with London.
However, I will not be a Mayor who seeks to impose over-development on boroughs against their will and will fight to support local people who want to protect the character of the outer London boroughs and who are deeply unhappy with the current Mayor’s plans to impose urbanisation upon them.
What would you do to improve transport?
Transport must now be a regional priority. This stretches way beyond the existing boundaries of Greater London and it is time to involve a wider area in planning and organising a better regional transport network.
London is a vibrant city because we are able to easily and quickly move to virtually any part of town. Overcrowding within London’s transportation infrastructure must be immediately addressed. I look forward to welcoming Crossrail later this year – a Conservative proposal from the mid 1990s!
I will look at all possible ways of improving London’s transport. For instance, we must also make better use of the River Thames to take freight of our roads and reduce congestion. We must also work hard to make the use of buses attractive again in the suburbs where it is needed, and introduce express buses and feeder buses.
Vitally, we must also work hard to close Transport for London’s nearly £1bn deficit created by Khan. London’s transport must be long term and taken out of the hands of a reckless and short term Mayor.