Shaun Bailey is the tenth and final contender to answer our questions. He is a member of the London Assembly.
Why are you standing for Mayor of London?
My family came to this country as part of the Windrush Generation. My grandfather fought for Britain in the Second World War, and he came here to work hard and contribute to this city of ours: London, the greatest city on Earth.
I grew up in a council house in Ladbroke Grove, and as a child played in the shadow of Grenfell Tower.
Throughout my life I have experienced all the opportunities London has to offer. London is the most vibrant city economy in the world. It is the global epicentre of culture and arts. It is a thriving multicultural city where people from all walks of life flourish side by side.
But I have also experienced the rougher side of living in this great city of ours. Growing up to a single mother in a poor area and being a youth worker for over 20 years, I have first hand experience of this side of London.
It is because of my own personal journey from youth worker to elected representative, that I want to help others reach their full potential. I want to use the powers of City Hall to help everyone achieve a stake in society.
Sadiq Khan is a Mayor who has constantly broken his promises to Londoners. He is far more interested in promoting his image and pursuing PR opportunities than he is in showing leadership on tackling knife crime or building the homes London needs.
Londoners deserve better.
I want to be the Conservative mayoral candidate to widen opportunity to all Londoners, regardless of background, and I want to be the candidate to boot Sadiq Khan out of City Hall.
What sort of campaign should the Conservatives run?
One of the things that differentiates the Conservative Party from its rivals is its relentless focus on hope and aspiration. Our party has a positive message to sell to London on opportunity, ownership, and responsibility. I want our mayoral campaign to run on such a message.
We need a positive and inspirational campaign that both appeals to traditional conservative voters and to those voter groups who do not always engage with our party such as BAME voters and young people. As someone who comes from a traditional hardworking family, and someone who has worked with disadvantaged communities for over 20 years, I believe I can craft a message that appeals to all of these voter groups.
Tied to this positive message must be a policy programme that seeks to both undo all of the harm Sadiq Khan is causing in City Hall and helps hard working Londoners to access all of the opportunities that London has to offer.
What would you do to reduce crime?
Being able to live in a safe and secure community is something that every Londoner should hope for. Unfortunately, under Sadiq Khan, crime has spiralled out of control.
Over the last year, London has witnessed 82 murders, with many of the victims being young people. This has been accompanied by an increase of 21 per cent in knife crime. But it is not just knife crime that is on the rise. Acid attacks have increased by 78 per cent over the last two years and moped-enabled crime has increased by 412 per cent since 2016. It is obvious to all that Sadiq Khan has lost control of streets.
If I am lucky enough to be selected and elected as the Conservative Mayor of London, my first priority will be to crack down on the organised criminals and gangs who have made many Londoners feel less safe when they walk the streets. Criminals should feel the full force of the law and citizens of our great Capital should be reassured that the Mayor of London is able to show the leadership needed to tackle rising crime.
One practical example on how the Mayor could show leadership and help the police would be to cut waste in City Hall to ensure that more bobbies can be put on the beat. The Mayor has increased the budget for his own policing bureaucrats by over £10m since he became Mayor. This is the equivalent of putting almost 200 extra police officers back on the beat. This is just one example of waste from Sadiq Khan’s City Hall.
What would you do about housing?
As no doubt most readers are aware, the affordability of housing in London is something that is a concern for many. The Conservative Party is the party of home ownership and only we truly understand the importance of owning your own home. I want to sell that message to London.
Sadiq Khan’s record on housebuilding has been abysmal. He has been given £4.82 billion by the Government to build over 90,000 new affordable homes – a record amount. So far he has failed his housing targets in both of his years in office and he is extremely unlikely to ever fulfil his promise to Government on affordable housing.
With many Londoners struggling to get on the housing ladder, especially young people and those with young families, such a record is simply unacceptable. As someone who has been a part of ‘generation rent’, and as someone who has benefited from both shared ownership and Help to Buy, I know how hard it can be to save up for a home.
One policy I would implement to improve housing in London would be to lift Sadiq Khan’s ban on building on brownfield land to boost housing supply. Mr Khan’s current London Plan places a complete moratorium on all new housebuilding on strategic industrial land. This places both a strain on the greenbelt, by pushing developments towards the edge of London, and incentivises the building of tower blocks in our suburbs to increase densities. Not only does the lack of housebuilding push up prices, Khan’s planning strategy also significantly undermines life in the suburbs.
What would you do to improve transport?
For many London commuters, the journey into work is often delayed or generally unpleasant. Much of this is down to a lack of investment in our transport network.
In the last mayoral election campaign, the current Mayor promised that Londoners “won’t pay a penny more” in transport fares. He broke this promise within his first year. Even though fares have been frozen for pay-as-you-go users, for the average commuter using a travelcard, fares have continued to rise. So not only has the Mayor broken a key election pledge, he has ensured that TfL now has a £640m blackhole in its balance sheet from lost fares revenue.
Because of the poor state of TfL finances, Sadiq Khan has had to cancel an upgrade of three tube lines and has pushed back the renewal of the Tube network’s fleet of trains. If elected as Mayor, I would once again get a grip on TfL finances, as Boris Johnson once did, and increase transport investment in our network to ensure that journeys are on time and more pleasant for everyday commuters.
The Mayor also promised that there would be “zero strikes” in office. So far, Sadiq Khan has, on average, had more strikes than any Mayor since the creation of the GLA. To break the stranglehold of the unions on London’s transport network, I would accelerate the purchasing of driverless trains.