Andrew Boff is the Chairman of the London Assembly.
We finished the elections with one extra seat on the Assembly. Shaun Bailey did well and managed to increase our vote share, despite the problematic odds we faced.
Whilst Labour won the Mayoralty, they are decidedly worried, having seen their vote eaten into by us, and, more tactically crucial to them, the minor parties on the Assembly. That panic about how they were losing the ‘left wing’ vote resulted in them refusing to chair any committees, a usually cross-party effort, in a thinly veiled tactic to try and tarnish the Greens and Liberals as “being in bed with the Tories”.
As a result, Conservatives now chair eight of the 11 committees and have a unique chance to steer the Assembly’s programme towards holding the Mayor accountable. Our new leader, Susan Hall, has pledged to hold the Mayor’s “feet to the fire” over his abysmal record on housing, crime, transport, and others, to date – and to criticise his election promises forensically.
The Greater London election results are going to keep psephologists busy for a while. Conservatives all over London have cheered the progress made in areas that traditionally vote Labour and also shown concern over Labour advances in some inner London Tory strongholds.
However, we have got to learn from those results. How did we get the stonkingly good result in the Chase Ward by-election in Enfield; in City and East scoop up votes that we previously thought were Labour’s; and turn marginal Havering and Redbridge into a comfortable Tory seat? Nevertheless, why did we lose ground in some Conservative areas in inner London and, of course, why did we not win the Mayoralty?
Let us not forget these questions. All too often, we get side-tracked from doing a proper analysis of how an election went and so are destined therefore to not to learn the lessons: What worked; what did not work? How do the results affect the way we campaign in the future?
This is why I am asking everyone involved with our campaign in London to complete a questionnaire, which can inform the Party’s approach in the future. I have emailed all London Association chairs a copy to forward to their members.
It may also help us understand what a distinctive London Conservative voice should sound like and create a better organised London party, at least in an informal, if not a distinct organisation.
I think it would be right at this point to hear from the canvassers, the deliverers, and back-room staff, in London about what their impressions were of our campaign. They loyally carry out the instructions during campaigns; I think it is only fair to give them a chance to ask them how they would have done it better. Because better is what we want to be.
Andrew Rosindell’s Romford constituency association could be seen as a model for other associations in London. The Association has managed to build a strong association that can mobilise a large number of volunteers (not all members) to deliver leaflets and get the vote out. If this can be replicated across London, it would allow us to get our voters out to the voting booths. Remember, turnout in London was only 42 per cent; if we can get out our voters, we can take back the capital.
London is not a Labour city, and Sadiq Khan is beatable; we can win if we put in the effort and run the right campaign. It is crucial to make use of the time we have to strengthen and organise our Party.