In just over three months’ time, London will choose a new Mayor.
This morning, I welcomed Zac Goldsmith - one of the people with a chance of being that Mayor - to the Sussex Innovation Centre in central Croydon to launch his Action Plan for Greater London.
I’ve known Zac for 5 years. He’s a colleague and a friend. And knowing him well, I can tell you he’d make a great Mayor of London.
He’s already shown himself to be a great MP. Don’t take my word for it - look at what his constituents have to say. Richmond Park used to be a marginal seat. Not anymore. In 2010, Zac won by just over 4,000 votes. Last May, he increased his majority to over 23,000, winning nearly 60 per cent of the vote. Having won by just 165 votes myself, I’m frankly rather jealous.
Why did the people of Richmond Park vote for Zac in such large numbers?
Because he’s proven himself to be a hard-working and effective local MP. He’s a Conservative, but he doesn’t simply tow the party line. I should know - I used to be his whip. If he thinks the Government hasn’t got something quite right, he argues the case on behalf of his constituents.
But he’s not a maverick: he works with people to get the right result.
These surely are the qualities we need in the next Mayor.
Whoever wins on 5th May is going to have to deal with a Conservative Government for the whole of their four-year term. So we need someone who is going to work with that government, not constantly try to score political points, but someone who will also fight for the best possible deal for London.
Since Zac was selected as the Conservative candidate, he’s convinced the Treasury to protect the Metropolitan Police budget and he’s ensured that the money raised when housing association tenants exercise their Right to Buy will fund at least twice as much new affordable housing in London.
If he’s achieved this as a candidate, just think what he could do for our city as Mayor?
You can hear what he had to say here.