Gareth Bacon is the MP for Orpington, the London Assembly member for Bexley and Bromley, and a former leader of the Conservative Group on the London Assembly.
Broken promises are permeating from City Hall. Since 2016, Sadiq Khan has overseen a litany of failures – and on no issue has he failed more than on crime. I say that as someone who has spent over a decade as a London Assembly member, whose job it has been to hold successive mayors to account on all matters within their purview.
From my unique position on the London Assembly, I have seen first hand Khan’s disinterest in matters regarding the crime emergency – this mayor is more focused on press officers than police officers – and he has an excuse for every occasion.
City Hall is lacking leadership and Londoners are paying the cost of Khan. The absolute priority, and not something which can wait, is restoring safety in London for all communities.
149 people were murdered in London in 2019 – does it sound like the Mayor is in control of the situation? That is the highest number of murders in a single year in over a decade. That is 149 individual stories and 149 sets of family, friends and communities devastated.
What rankles with me is the lies that come forth from the Mayor. Khan says that police numbers have been cut heavily. This is just not true – from May 2016 to September 2019, police officer levels are down four per cent. This is an incremental change but the Mayor is in control of the Met’s budget: he could give them more funds and finance a recruitment drive.
Increasing the PR operation and bureaucratic machinery at City Hall by £83 million does not feel like the Mayor has a grip on the situation, nor a grip on reality. Where do the priorities lie at City Hall?
A central part of being a London politician is holding the mayor to account. I have done this on the London Assembly and will do so now from the House of Commons. It is no small feat getting successive Mayors to accept responsibility but I can say in every confidence that in Khan we have a Mayor who categorically will not accept fault or learn from his mistakes.
This is a dangerous combination as he has no desire to improve his performance or make proper use of the office which he holds – Khan sees the mayoralty as a springboard to further his personal ambitions.
The job of Mayor of London is an executive one – the Mayor is expected to govern. But Khan has repeatedly shown that he is not interested in governing and making the difficult choices this entails. Instead he prefers to act like an elected opposition spokesman, nursing grievances, shifting blame, and playing to the gallery. This simply isn’t good enough.
Luckily for Londoners, they have the chance to reject Khan in May and vote for change. Shaun Bailey is running for Mayor and his platform is built upon his strong plans for fighting crime. Shaun knows what it takes to tackle violent crime; he was a youth worker in west London for over 20 years and saved countless young people from going down a dangerous path.
Broken promises are dangerous for us all and too many have paid the cost of Khan.