After 8 years as Mayor of London, we Conservatives could be proud of Boris Johnson’s record; we could hold our heads high. London was safer, delivering better value for money, attracting more investment and getting to grips with building more housing. London was the envy of the world!
Fast forward just two years and Londoners can see the difference between a Mayor who delivers for our city and one who doesn’t. Housing starts are down (including the number of social rented houses), violent crime is spiralling out of control, TfL have a £1bn black hole in their budget resulting in vital tube upgrades being shelved or cancelled and there have been a myriad of broken promises.
The Mayor of London is often described as the fourth most powerful in the UK, however all our current Mayor offers London is failing policies, indifference, lack of action and apportioning blame to everyone else but himself. Londoners have seen the sheer amount of damage a Labour administration can inflict in a short space of time. Londoners deserve better. London needs a new Mayor with dynamism, courage and bold ideas back in City Hall. No more election gimmicks that result in broken promises, but honesty with the electorate about what needs to be done to tackle the growing list of challenges our capital faces
London needs a Conservative mayor delivering conservative solutions. In September London Conservatives will get to choose between three excellent candidates, all of whom have the qualities and the drive to become London Mayor. In 2020, our candidate needs to be able to reach out beyond the traditional Conservative mould, but also to be someone who understands the aspirations and the values of people who are “typical" Londoners, whether they live in the metro inner city or the outer doughnut. This typical “Londoner” could be someone who may have been born and bred in London or an immigrant from abroad or someone who has moved to London from elsewhere in the UK. Someone like me who came to study and stayed. But it will also be someone who understands the struggle of saving up to buy your first home or who can relate to the young population of London or who is concerned about bringing up a family in an environment where crime is on the rise.
So, when we make our choice in September we need to choose someone who represents that “typical” Londoner whoever you or they are.
I’ve campaigned with (and for) Joy Morrissey during recent campaigns and have seen her fantastic work at the Centre for Social Justice. I believe that she has the positive vision to fix London’s problems as well as the right conservative ideas to reach out to a broader group of people than we did in 2017 in order to win. I know that she has the strength of character to take the fight to an aggressive Labour party in London whilst also ensuring the campaign itself remains positive and upbeat. Joy is someone who’s been tested in battle in one of London’s toughest campaigns of 2017 which was also one in which Momentum deployed huge numbers. She knows only too well what we’re up against in London, but she took her experience to hold on to her council seat in Ealing with the same majority as in 2014.
In these elections it is vital that we change some of so many peoples’ in-ground perceptions and prejudices against the Conservative Party. We will need to show that not only do we care, but we have our own solutions to tackle homelessness, improve social mobility, help prevent young people falling into gangs and much more. Joy and I have spoken about how issues like these will be at the heart of her campaign - as well as the traditional ‘bread and butter’ issues - and I think that this is going to be vital if we’re going to win over a London electorate that has grown cynical about our party and our motives.
In particular Joy has worked extensively on housing policy for a number of years and fully understands that we must have a compelling pitch to the growing number of private renters in London as well as aspirant home owners. Last week she outlined some of these views in a widely praised article. Joy is a candidate who has her own views and convictions to tackle these issues on day one.
Finally, I know Joy is a tireless campaigner who has put together large campaign teams and campaigned extensively across London. I’ve been impressed to hear about her plans to train up activists and ensure that we can outsmart Labour at the local level in the run up to 2020. This, combined with a relentlessly upbeat campaign, will ensure that win or lose, the campaign will leave a positive legacy for the Conservatives in London.
London, quite literally, cannot afford another four years of Sadiq Khan. We need a straight-talking Mayor who has bold solutions, as well as a passion for the compassionate conservatism that the socially conscious London electorate can resonate with. I believe that Joy Morrissey could deliver these objectives and should be our candidate. So, I will be campaigning with Joy to help build a new approach to City Hall and to begin to build a positive legacy for the Conservatives in London. I hope you will join me.