Paul Scully is the MP for Sutton and Cheam and the Conservative Party Vice Chairman with responsibility for London.
The ballot has been open for London Conservative members to vote for our candidate to be the next London Mayor. Members have until 5pm this Wednesday to cast their vote, one of the key benefits and indeed responsibilities of being a party member. We are choosing someone who articulates an aspirational vision for London and will demonstrate that, unlike the incumbent, they can deliver for Londoners.
The three shortlisted candidates have spent the summer reaching out to thousands of members across the capital. Shaun Bailey, Andrew Boff, and Joy Morrissey have fizzed with ideas over their twenty or so hustings together and various association events. This has given members an opportunity to come together and discuss the key electoral issues for Londoners, an exercise which when combined with the local election campaign in May is acting as the catalyst for the revitalisation of the London Conservatives – to ultimately reconnect with both the city and our electorate.
People move to London for jobs, education, opportunities, the lifestyle, the buzz – or some or all of the above. That might be from other countries, but certainly from other parts of the UK. London has been expanding since the time of Dick Whittington. What binds all these people together is their aspiration; their search for a positive future. We need to speak to that constituency and frankly, as Londoners ourselves, we should share that hope and sense of purpose.
Shaun, Andrew and Joy have been relentless in pushing their plans to keep London as one of the premier world capital cities: ensuring we thrive economically; improving transport, air quality and community links; building a range of housing for the next generation and keeping us safe.
Meanwhile the current Mayor has doubled his PR and event budgets whilst overseeing self-inflicted cuts in transport infrastructure plans due to his ever-worsening financial black hole. He will happily point the finger at the government regarding police numbers, having himself cut £38m in 2017 from the Met Police salary budget. He granted permission for a Trump baby blimp quickly enough whilst dragging his feet on house building.
Londoners need one of the three Conservative candidates, each with a resolve to deliver change to their home city, not just to have their face plastered on posters.
My job as Vice-Chairman for London has been to bring the various parts of the Party together in a coordinated manner. The local elections in May showed what we can achieve if CCHQ trusts each borough and constituency to tell their own story and to allow the grassroots to use CCHQ for the resource, the collective experience, and professionalism that it brings. This collaboration helped us achieve a result that the media had not thought possible in the weeks and months leading up to polling day. We all knew better as we tracked the hard work done by so many supporters, glued together with the additional resource of the borough campaign managers which allowed us a far greater reach than we have had in recent years. Now we need to build on this, creating capacity, maintaining that energy, and sharing a vision for London that chimes with people across the capital beyond our core vote. A dynamic mayoral candidate will be right in the centre of this process.
So who is your choice? If you are registered to vote in London and a party member you should have received your ballot by email. Last time we had an open primary. This time the selection is member-led, so as a member, I hope that you do get involved and vote in the short time remaining. I certainly look forward to working with the candidate that you choose.
All three are great campaigners and proven grassroots workers across London. All three can make an excellent Mayor. We know that winning is a challenge but make no mistake, the prize is definitely up for grabs if we run a unified, positive, well-organised campaign. Londoners are quickly beginning to realise that they deserve better. Let’s make sure they get what they deserve.