Cllr Joy Morrissey is the third candidate to answer our questions. She is a councillor in Ealing.
Why are you standing for Mayor of London?
Like a lot of Londoners, I wasn’t born here. I moved here as an immigrant and I fell in love with this vibrant city which is now my home and the place I’m raising my family.
I have a real passion for trying to fix problems of social injustice to make our city a happier, safer and better place not just for my generation but also for our children, including my daughter.
I have shared the journey of frustration that many Londoners experience when it comes to trying to get on the housing ladder. Addressing this struggle, that so many face, must be one of our top priorities.
My campaign would focus on three main issues.
First and foremost, I want to see more affordable housing for working families and young professionals who are currently priced out of the housing market in London. Alongside this there needs to be a huge improvement in reliable transport links. New transport corridors often open up new sites for development for commuters to buy a home or rent affordably, should they choose.
I want to focus on tackling London’s crime and anti-social behaviour by promoting personal safety and by adopting new measures to crack down on violent knife crime involving young people in London. I would seek to implement new initiatives to tackle gangs.
Finally, I will champion the issues of social injustice that sadly blight so many areas of our city. We as Conservatives are often the first to volunteer to help with homeless charities, set up job clubs, or help with educational charities for disadvantaged young people; but sadly a lot of people often don’t see the fantastic work that so many of us do. I therefore want to ensure that some of these ‘non-traditional’ issues are right at the very heart of my campaign. London needs to see the compassionate heart of conservatism and to see our passion for helping the most disadvantaged in our great city.
The unique way the London Mayoral ballot works means that we really do need to show our broad appeal. I have shown that I have a track record of this – I have been called the fixer from across different political parties because I am the person who works tirelessly behind the scenes to actually make things happen, helping people no matter who they are or where they are from.
What sort of campaign should the Conservatives run?
We need to re-invigorate our grassroot activists and supporters. It’s been a grueling few years and so many have worked incredibly hard. I have a dedicated team of people who I’ve worked with on different projects and past campaigns (including my own!) and I intend to roll this kind of network of dedicated volunteers out across London with everyone getting the training and support needed within the first three months. I aim to get to the point where we can outsmart Labour and Momentum on the ground.
I want to see us revitalise and place social action at the heart of our campaign. Knocking on doors and talking to voters is always crucial but it isn’t enough. I don’t believe simply going out and pitching to our ‘core’ base of supporters is going to win us the election in London anymore.
We need to win over the hearts and minds of people who’ve drifted over to Labour and the Liberal Democrats, not because they don’t believe in our policies, but because they think we don’t care about people who are struggling to get by.
I’ll be actively looking from day one to ensure we are getting out and not just talking about problems but actually proactively working with charities and local community groups to roll up our sleeves and get things fixed. At the end of the day, if we are going to say that the state isn’t always the solution, the onus is on us to prove there’s another way of doing things and to practise what we preach.
What would you do about housing?
I am advocating a new model – one which will offer more social and private rented accommodation, with greater security of tenure for tenants whilst also working as a market-based solution to tackle the housing crisis in London and elsewhere.
I believe there is tremendous untapped potential in free markets to find solutions through public-private partnership. The basic, most sustainable model would see more housing finance being provided by large institutional investors – primarily pension funds – that are interested in a secure, long term rate of return.
These investors would work in partnership with local authorities and other public bodies which own large swathes of unused brownfield and greenfield land.
This would ultimately mean that renters can have peace of mind that they have meaningful security of tenure and rent fixed for a reasonable period with predictable future increases thereafter.
The role of a Conservative Government should be to facilitate market-based solutions to the housing crisis facing this country. And top of the list should be enabling pension funds to fill the enormous funding shortfall in the supply of property for secure, long-term rent – good for them, good for private tenants, good for social tenants, and good for the councils responsible for helping them find suitable accommodation, a public good and good government!
What would you do to reduce crime?
I’d cut through the suffocating red tape and actually let Police officers get on with making our streets safe again. The Mayor should be setting the priorities for the Metropolitan Police and holding them to account. Not putting more officers behind desks filling in endless paperwork or trapped in a mountain of admin because of misguided priorities which impede police officers from actually doing their job.
The Mayor should boost proactive community policing, with more officers spending more time in specific neighbourhoods tackling the most important priorities.
We need to build stop and search into neighbourhood policing, where officers know the offenders, know the locality, have the backing of the community, and have the confidence to use their powers appropriately. It’s crucial to ensure the courts adopt the sentencing guidelines that have been set. But alongside this we must improve outcomes for those young people at risk of exclusion.
We need to hold the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to account to ensure that where communities and police do their bit to secure evidence against offenders, the ball isn’t being dropped in court.
I would also invest in the Police cadets in London, to help improve relationships at a local level and create real opportunities for London’s diverse young people to learn and develop.
I would build on the foundation of the community based women’s centres in London, to help free vulnerable women from the revolving door of crime and break the inter-generational cycle of crime, social exclusion and poverty.
We need to secure the devolution of electronic monitoring from the Ministry of Justice, to GPS tag the most prolific offenders, helping them desist from crime and catching them sooner where they continue to offend.
What would you do to improve transport?
I want to see us speed up electrification of our city both to keep us at the forefront of technological developments as well as cleaning up our terrible air quality. We should set an ambitious target to have the entire fleet of London buses electric or zero emission. We also need to work with councils and private companies to get more charging points installed across London. At the moment they’re often heavily concentrated in the more affluent areas of central London.
We also need to ensure we have taxis people can trust which are accessible for people with disabilities. We need an open and competitive playing field, welcoming entrants like Uber but ensuring drivers are vetted and properly trained and supported before being licensed, to keep both passengers and drivers safe. It’s also vital that there are always enough accessible cabs on the road and that drivers of licenced cars realise they have a responsibility to transport everyone – able-bodied or not – as part of their obligation to TfL and Londoners.
Finally, we need to be realistic and honest about the need to invest heavily in our infrastructure. Sadiq Khan’s reckless fares freeze blew a £640 million black hole in the TfL budget that’s seen investment in track maintenance and orders for new underground trains plummet.