Shaun Bailey is a member of the London Assembly and the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London
The next London mayoral election might feel like it’s a long way away, but I wanted to let you know that the hard work of unseating Sadiq Khan has already begun.
This article is the first of what I hope are many, updating you on the campaign. As you will all know from our most recent set of successful local elections in London, we’re far stronger than many in the left-wing press think. But let’s be straight from the start: it won’t be easy. Labour has good support in London and Sadiq Khan is a master at PR.
And if the months since my selection are any indication, Khan and Labour are going to be playing nasty. I get it; I wouldn’t want to talk about my record either if I was Khan. I would also bang on about the files I don’t control, like Brexit, instead of the ones I do, like crime, transport, and housing.
Londoners just don’t know what Khan has done. Now I would say that, wouldn’t I, but look at the facts: the homes Khan promised Londoners aren’t being built; the transport budget deficit is almost a billion pounds and growing; Crossrail is a mess and Khan just isn’t being straight about what he knew about its delays; and violent crime remains at record levels. Tragically, it also seems you can’t open a paper these days without reading about another stabbing of a young – and usually black – boy.
Put another way: Khan is failing Londoners.
Ask Khan about it, though, and all you’ll hear is that it’s never his fault. Ever. For anything. There’s always someone else to blame. Or he’ll just complain that Westminster isn’t giving him what he wants. Not that pleading poverty stops Khan from spending more on his own office, or bumping up the salaries of the executives at TfL. Instead of spending more on spin and bureaucracy, Khan should be putting that money toward our coppers, as I’ve outlined in my calls for another 1,000 front line bobbies and an additional 800 detectives.
You see, that’s the thing: governing is about choices. Leaders make them. Leaders prioritise. If crime is up, they cut waste and fund more police. If a transport project is going off the rails, they take the wheel and get it back on track. That’s just not being done under this Mayor and I think Londoners deserve better. That’s why I want to replace him.
Speak soon. Until then, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. I hope you get lots of time with the people who are special to you.