Greg Hands is the MP for Chelsea and Fulham.
I am delighted to have been asked by Shaun Bailey himself to be his Campaign Chairman for this year’s Mayoral election.
I have known Shaun well since 2007, and have always been a fan of this very different politician, a man who really wants to do the job as Mayor of London.
The General Election result highlighted what I have been seeing on the doorstep for many months, a complex and fluid change in the way Londoners are voting. The election turned out to be a mixed picture in London for the Conservatives. We lost a fantastic MP in Zac Goldsmith which will leave the Commons a poorer place and many outstanding candidates didn’t quite make it over the line.
However, our gains in Kensington (Felicity Buchan) and Carshalton (Elliott Colburn) were significant for our future hopes in London. The failure of Labour and the Lib Dems to make real inroads will be cause for concern for them ahead of the Greater London Assembly and Mayoral campaigns next year.
Lack of delivery in City Hall
The warning signs should by flashing loudly for Labour big wigs in City Hall. With the General Election out the way and as Brexit falls away from the public’s mindset, Sadiq Khan’s abysmal record on crime, housing, and the environment will be filling up the column inches. Never has a Mayor gone into a re-election campaign with such a poor record of delivery.
Knife crime continues to plague our streets, yet Khan has failed to act, saying it will take a decade to turn things around. 147 people were murdered in the capital last year, the highest level since 2008. But instead of moving resources to the Police, Khan wastes London’s resources on press officers. On housing, Khan has managed to grind all house building to a halt due to his ideological position and hatred of developers. And he fundamentally failed to call out Jeremy Corbyn on anti-Semitism, something that should shame him and his team.
The need for change = Shaun
In Shaun Bailey, the Conservative Party has chosen a true Londoner. He is a black, working class guy, who grew up in the shadow of Grenfell Tower. A man who has had to grind his entire life to make a living and raise his family. In his early 20s he found himself homeless, sofa surfing with friends and family. He chose a career of helping young people avoid a life of crime and has served the people of London as a Greater London Assembly member.
Shaun is probably one of the most sincere and genuine people in politics. He has no dreams of grandeur, he just wants to deliver for Londoners. He wants to have affordable homes for our young people, he wants a clean environment for our children, and he wants safer streets for everyone, now.
Crime will play a central part in the Mayoral election. The heart-breaking stories that we read about on a daily basis will not go away anytime soon. With a lack of City Hall interest and leadership, our streets, our homes, and our communities do not feel safe places to be. This is not limited to the inner-city areas, this is something that is felt from Harrow to Bromley and everywhere in between. There were three knife crime murders in Fulham last year, in my constituency.
Shaun’s plan is one of zero tolerance, tougher sentences for those caught with acid or a knife, a record amount of police on the streets with money already available in City Hall, and ending the fights that are raging on our streets. It is Shaun’s strength of character, and understanding of what is happening under the radar on our streets, that will make the difference.
I am looking forward to working with Shaun to build his campaign, tell his story, and sell his plan to people across London. We need to end Khan’s miserable tenure on 7th May and turn City Hall into a machine that delivers for Londoners.