Cllr Henry Higgins is a councillor in Hillingdon. He is the Conservative candidate for Ealing and Hillingdon for the London Assembly elections to take place in May 2024.
We won Uxbridge and South Ruislip against all the odds and my Hillingdon Council colleague, Steve Tuckwell, is now our MP.
Next up is the London Mayoral election on May 2nd, 2024. Susan Hall is our candidate with a London Assembly team of London-wide candidates. I am the constituency candidate for Ealing and Hillingdon (held by a Conservative Assembly Member before 2016). This is a corner of London which definitely understands and believes in the significance and importance of diversity. Our experience is just not the same as Sadiq Khan’s definition of diversity.
We have a great opportunity to send Khan his P45 after eight years of his appalling record which had brought the ULEZ Extension, rising crime, and TFL in a financial mess.
My constituents and the whole of London desperately need a Conservative Mayor. The question is how can we win back London? I have been a Hillingdon councillor for over two decades. I was a cabinet member who successfully took on ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone, the former London Mayor, and got funding from him via the London Development Agency to build the first 50m pool in London for 40 years. And I was part of the administration that made Hillingdon a strong Conservative council. Our council has always put residents first. From libraries to value-for-money council tax. The main reason for our success in Hillingdon has been delivering for our local residents and responding to their concerns.
One size does not fit all. A good mayor would understand that the London boroughs are different. They have their own requirements. The outer London boroughs, like Hillingdon, have requirements for transport and for policing that are really different to those of Camden and Westminster.
Inner London is a diverse, exciting place that is very different from outer London. The local political issues in inner London are very different. I grew up in inner London. I went to school in Camden Town. I worked in the West End, in the heart of Westminster, putting myself through college. Incidentally, in terms of transport, everywhere was accessible by bus or underground. That is certainly not the case in the outer London boroughs.
I have now lived in outer London for over 35 years. Life is very different. Because of very poor public transport, a car is a necessity; it is not a luxury. Personal transport, a car or a van, are an essential for work and for a family. We, as councillors, have to understand that. Khan just does not get it.
Using this same philosophy and approach on understanding of specific local needs, we won Uxbridge and South Ruislip with a strong local candidate. Steve Tuckwell fought on local issues that affected our residents.
We Conservatives strongly believe that local representation is important both in parliament and in local government including the London Assembly.
I believe that lack of trust affects the legitimacy of political institutions. It is my aim to regain that trust through fighting for the concerns of all Londoners. I will work with my Conservative colleagues in Ealing. We must show people that we think differently to the current Labour regime.
We cannot allow London to be run by a politician who is not of the people, for the people. Khan is a politician gaining power off the back of the people’s purse. He controls a £21 billion Mayoral Budget. His inability to do this fairly and equitably has been well documented on Conservative Home. We have to make sure that local people understand that, too.
We are now seeing the effects of ULEZ. We have to endure the poor political oversight of the police which results in more crime whilst taxing the very people who are hit by Khan’s lavish spending.
Khan’s answer to inadequate financial management is to use the Left’s begging bowl student-union style politics: he demands more money from central government. He should not. The London mayor should manage the capital’s resources and finances efficiently and effectively, as we do in Hillingdon. We need to explain that to our local constituents so they understand and believe that begging for more tax money is not how a Conservative Mayor will work.
We need checks and balances. This is why we need stronger outer London representation on the London Assembly. There is a pervasive mindset in many quarters that London will never be Conservative. That is wrong and, in our campaign, we must change it.
The state of politics in London at present is very like the saying ‘the thread is spun thinner, but it is not broken’. Another four years of a Labour Mayor and my fear is that it will be broken. It is imperative that we deliver more seats in the London Assembly that are Conservative representatives who understand the needs of our diverse communities and to give them all a voice at the table. This would give improved governance to the assembly making the mayor, whether Labour or Conservative accountable to the wishes of all Londoners.
On the 2nd May 2024 we can elect Susan Hall, a Harrow Councillor and outer Londoner herself, as our Conservative Mayor of London. I have seen first-hand what a Conservative Mayor can do for London but we must not forget the importance of winning constituency seats at any election.
This is not all about the Mayor. Londoners, particularly those who live in outer London need a stronger local voice on the London Assembly to represent and fight for the issues that affect all Londoners.