Siobhan Benita says she can be London Mayor

Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita has been talking up her chances of winning the capital’s mayoralty in an interview with City AM.

She takes the fight to Sadiq Khan, criticising Labour’s equivocal position on Brexit:

Benita says the Lib Dems are now perfectly positioned to capitalise on votes that would have otherwise gone to Labour. “The fact that Sadiq has stayed in the Labour party that is facilitating Brexit is a huge thing against him,” she says.

“For Sadiq, it’s going to be about how is he going to continue to justify being in a party that is keeping us in this mess?” It is not enough that Khan has spoken out against anti-semitism, another issue that is hurting Labour, or has campaigned for a second referendum, she says.

She was less hopeful of a Remain Alliance with the Greens:

Benita said she was “very open with working with the Greens but they have made it clear they are not”.

“I’m really disappointed in Sian,” Benita says. “She has really attacked the Lib Dems and has been fighting old battles about the coalition. She sees us as a real threat in London and is still blaming us for austerity. But Brexit is a much bigger and more immediate risk.”

And she had some interesting ideas about freedom of movement post Brexit:

Under the Lib Dems, Benita pledges that freedom of movement for EU citizens would continue in London,even if it ended in the rest of the UK, through a regional system she says has been tested in Canada. She would also want every London borough to be partnered with an EU state.

“One of the very real potential consequences of Brexit is the breakup of the United Kingdom. If Scotland breaks away, why can’t London? I wouldn’t rule anything out. “My message is that London will remain European whatever happens. It has to.”

You can read the whole article here.

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  • nigel hunter 15th Aug '19 - 5:04pm

    I am afraid ‘fighting old battles’ (austerity) is a weapon to use against us which some will still agree with . The fact that it got EVEN WORSE when the voters kicked us out in 2015 can be conveniently ignored.
    Radical moves like the Canadian one is where we should be going. To change the systems of the last century and move us forward into the next.

  • Has Siobhan Benita ever explained publicly why she stood for mayor in 2012 against the then LibDem candidate, Brian Paddick?

    I completely understand why she stood in 2012 – the field of candidates was three rethreads from 2018 – Boris, Ken and Brian Paddick, plus pro-Brexit Jenny Jones from the Green Party (who now half-heartedly regrets her Brexit support). Brian Paddick might be nice guy but he was a sub-par policeman and a sub-par politician.

    As a Londoner the problem with the LibDems offering in London is the failure to stand on clear, concrete, distinctive policies.

    A good policy would be that all Met recruits at entry level must have been living in London for the three previous years. It’s a scandal that the majority of Met policemen don’t live in London and that the the Met is 90% white English for a police authority that is only 40% white English. We effectively have an alien police force policing our city full of people from “white flight” communities and similar social background.

    Another good policy would be to scrap the free zone 1-6 travel for those living in the same property as TfL workers and limit it to TfL workers themselves. It’s another scandal that I know of TfL workers who are given rent free places in flatshares because the four or five other people living there get free travel as a result. The ordinary person on the street who is paying ridiculously high fares to cover the tens of millions that this free travel costs the city.

    People won’t vote LibDem unless there are distinctive policies even if a small minority is alienated as a result.

  • Bobby Copper 15th Aug '19 - 8:02pm

    Rob Cannon

    Sadiq Khan said the following in 2017 in reply to a Mayoral question

    “In August 2013 the MPS introduced the London residency criteria, whereby Police Constable applicants must have lived in London for three out of the last six years to be eligible to join.”

    I suspect that the main reason for officers living outside London is house prices rather than not wanting to live among the same demographic they police.

    The police’s own figures on ethnicity are 85% of officers and 60% of Londoners classed as “white”, not quite as bad as you suggest.

    You do seem to have highlighted a scam over free TfL travel

  • Bobby Copper: 60% of Londoners may be white but we are not white English. As someone who is white Irish who remembers the way the Met fitted up the Guildford Four and who travels through the tube station where the Met under the supervision of the current commissioner murdered Jean Charles de Menezes, I want a police force that is representative of those of us who live in London, not “white flight” towns in the Home Counties. The 20% of Londoners who are of white Irish and white Other are the most underrepresented in the Met. 41% of police based in Wandsworth don’t live in London.

    One issue is that the Met sold off or shut down its accommodation for serving policemen. Now we have issues with key worker accommodation this needs to be restored.

    The problem with Siobhan Benita is that she doesn’t talk about this. One look at her twitter feed makes it clear that her campaign is being run on the engine of identity politics with a different greeting to a different minority group in London every second day of the week. It’s condescending. She also hasn’t addressed her 2012 support for a third runway at Heathrow, which 7 years and one climate crisis later now seems even madder than it was in 2012.

  • Alex Macfie 18th Aug '19 - 1:32pm

    Rob Cannon:

    “Has Siobhan Benita ever explained publicly why she stood for mayor in 2012 against the then LibDem candidate, Brian Paddick?”

    Yes, she has many times. It came up in the hustings. Siobhan had just left her long-term politically restricted civil service job, and it was her first time standing as a candidate for any elected office. She stood as an independent because it hadn’t occurred to her to join a political party, and the main party candidates had been selected anyway. And she didn’t join the Lib Dems until 2016 (the day after the Brexit referendum).
    As for her 2012 stance on Heathrow expansion, why not ask her yourself whether she still holds that view?

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