Tag Archives: Caroline Pidgeon

Why Heathrow deserves a more thorough debate

It is now August and a good time to reflect, especially on those issues which have received insufficient attention.

Although Brexit has understandably dominated politics for many months, it is worth noting that just six weeks ago Parliament made the decision to back a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The vote – by 415 to 119 – approved the National Planning Statement (NPS) that paves the way for the £14 billion construction project. Peers did not get a vote.

Some people, whatever their past thoughts on the pros and cons of a third Heathrow runway, might think that the issue has now been …

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Caroline Pidgeon highlights Oyster “cash mountain”

So, Transport for London has £321 million of our money and is keeping quiet about it. Lib Dem Assembly Member and former Mayoral Candidate Caroline Pidgeon has made the headlines by uncovering the fact that TfL is sitting on this vast sum of money on Oyster cards which haven’t been used for over a year.

From the BBC:

Ms Pidgeon, chair of City Hall’s transport committee, put the “soaring” figure partly down to the number of people switching in recent years to making contactless payments with their bank cards.

She said: “TfL never stops bombarding us with advertisements and information campaigns,

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WATCH: The #LiberalLondon Rally

Last night, London Lib Dems launched their campaign for May’s elections. One of the many things that is fantastic about having Vince as leader is that he gets local government. He gets why it is important as an end in itself. He’s been there – as a councillor in another city, Glasgow, back in the 70s. Hackney Heroine Pauline Pearce talked about the scourge of knife crime. Caroline Pidgeon talked about winning in a safe Labour seat. The amazing Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, talked about their investment in mental health support among other things.

You can watch the whole event here.

And here are some of the Twitter highlights.

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The Presidents Club is not the only prestigious men only event

The Presidents Club Dinner has been in the news this week, but I was reminded that this was not the only example of a men only dinner for powerful men at which women were there to provide little more than decoration and entertainment.

Two years ago, Caroline Pidgeon spoke out when the TfL chairman managed to attend 3 dinners without noticing that there were no women there. I wrote at the time:

Transport for London boss Sir Peter Hendy is under fire after he accepted an invitation to attend not one, or two, but three dinners from which women are excluded. The Independent has the story:

The CommonSpace website said that Sir Peter, 61, who receives a £348,000 salary, attended the December dinner in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Portman Square, London, as a guest of the Scottish-based bus company Alexander Dennis Ltd. Photos of the event posted on the society’s website showed a “handsome body of men enjoying their dinner” alongside another picture of female performers in thigh-cut dresses who were said to be bringing “a new spectacle to the dinner”.

The golfing society’s rules state membership is open only to “gentlemen associated with the transport industry”, and that the dinner is “for gentlemen only”. Its website described the gathering as “one of the best sporting dinners of the year. With a glamorous string quartet playing exciting music in even more exciting tight dresses, a troupe of can-can dancers and a truly fun atmosphere”. It added: “Over the years we have been privileged to welcome top men from the worlds of sport, industry, show business and politics. They always enthusiastically wave their napkins to the patriotic sounds of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and leap enthusiastically to the feet when their table’s turn comes to sing ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Some even do the actions!”

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Liberal Democrats accuse Government of hypocrisy over EU workers in Parliament

Lib Dem Freedom of Information requests have revealed the numbers of EU citizens who work in the Houses of Parliament.

Nationality by Category Commons staff Lords staff
British 1971 485
Irish 25 10
EU (not including British or Irish) 112 48
Non-EU 108 36

 

A total of 195 staff out of 2795 are non-British European nationals, that is, 7%. Of those, 5.7% (the non-Irish EU citizens) face an uncertain post-Brexit future.

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The Garden Bridge – or Johnson’s folly

If you live outside London you might be unaware of the on-going row over the proposal for a Garden Bridge. The concept was supported by Boris Johnson, with celebrity endorsement. The project envisaged a pedestrian bridge located between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges, designed as a park.

The Mayor of London published a report last week, authored by Margaret Hodge, which identified major problems with the project and recommended that it should be scrapped. Costs have increased from £60m to over £200m, and the procurement processes were deeply flawed. What is more, the project was “driven more by electoral cycles than value for taxpayers’ money.”

Hodge said:

In the present climate, with continuing pressures on public spending, it is difficult to justify further public investment in the Garden Bridge.

Caroline Pidgeon had this to say about it:

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Boris Johnson’s foolishness and arrogance in purchasing water cannon

This week Sadiq Khan revealed that three redundant water cannon, bought controversially by his predecessor, are to be put up for sale, with the proceeds going towards helping to tackle gang crime.

It is a decision I totally endorse and welcome.

Back in 2014 Boris Johnson decided to purchase three second hand water cannon from Germany.  We now discover that £322,834 of taxpayers’ money has been spent by the Met Police on purchasing these 25 year old vehicles, and then transporting, fitting out and repairing the machines.

The scale of the foolishness, and quite frankly arrogance, in purchasing these water cannon is hard to underestimate.

For a start these water cannon were purchased before authorisation was given for their use by the Home Secretary.  After they had been purchased consideration of permitting authorisation of their use was undertaken by the then Home Secretary.  It was firmly refused.  On this issue Theresa May showed immense thoroughness in carefully examining the merits for and against the adoption of water cannon.  Her statement to the House of Commons on the 15th July 2015 is an example of a Home Secretary acting in a truly professional way.  The Hansard record is well worth a read.

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Caroline Pidgeon: Case against Heathrow expansion as strong as ever

Caroline Pidgeon, like all Liberal Democrats, has always campaigned against a third runway at Heathrow. The picture shows her speaking against expansion at a demo in Parliament Square last year.

This is her reaction to yesterday’s announcement that the Government has, inexplicably, decided to back the project:

After an incredibly expensive lobbying campaign the Government has ‎foolishly accepted the myth that what is good for the overseas owners of Heathrow is also good for the UK economy.

The reality is that airports such as Luton and Stansted have spare capacity.   And in time HS2 will also allow easy access ‎to Birmingham airport for many Londoners.

We can improve the UK’s international links through better use of all our airports.  It is the triumph of vested interests for this Government to claim that the environmental wreckage created by a third Heathrow runway‎ is a price worth paying.

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“Please offer me a seat”

avril-coelho-conference

As a disabled commuter who is unable to drive for medical reasons, I rely as thousands of other people to on public transport to get to the shops, to  get to work and back and to get to medical appointments.

Whilst I have a disabled person’s freedom pass, drivers don’t always notice that I need a priority seat. Certainly as my disabilities are hidden, other passengers don’t see my epilepsy or the three worn vertebrae in my spine. I need to sit where it’s not too hard to get up again and where the driver can see if I do have a seizure. I know that should I have a seizure, bus drivers have a protocol to follow.

I have been on a busy Tube and not offered a seat despite talking about my need for one with another standing passenger who was two weeks away from giving birth. Her need was obvious to anyone with sight but nobody got up. We were stood next to many seated men with briefcases and mobile phones in their hands who might have all needed their seats but it’s unlikely. A seat came up and I offered the lady the seat as her and her unborn baby needed it. The heat became unbearable and triggered a seizure and without anyone giving up a seat within the ten seconds I had to sit down, I fell down on the Tube floor. Only then did the men seated get up. Not to offer me their seats though! They picked me and my bag up and carried me of the Gunnersbury platform bench and left me alone there! My bag could have been stolen before the seizure ended.

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A quarter of a billion pounds to be claimed!

Caroline-Pidgeon

No, this is not a pitch for claims for mis-sold PPI.

£223,392,863 – that is a huge sum of money, and travellers in London have unwittingly loaned it to Transport for London. But the good news is that they can claim it back.

So where does that figure come from, and why is Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem London Assembly member, so bothered about it? Caroline is also Chair of London’s Transport Committee and this is not the first time she has drawn our attention to the nest egg that Transport for London is sitting on.

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As hate crime rises, Farron and Pidgeon visit vandalised Polish Centre

Probably the most awful of many bad aspects of the referendum is that that very small section of the population who are racists and bigots feel emboldened. They think they have 17 million mates. Social media is awash with reports of attacks and the Police say that reports of hate crime are up 57%. While only a tiny minority of Leave voters are racists, they all need to take some responsibility, alongside the Leave campaign, for allowing this appalling behaviour to flourish.

It’s not just in the last few weeks, though. This prejudice has been stoked endlessly by the media and both Tory and Labour governments for long enough. If they had done what Holly said, years ago, we might not be in this mess now.

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On Sadiq Khan’s Hopper bus ticket: an idea you may have heard of before

One hour bus ticket 2009So, Sadiq Khan has made his first big transport announcement, one hour Hopper bus ticket.

Now, even though I live 400 miles away, I know fine that this is not be an original idea from the new London Mayor. Someone has been campaigning for this since 2009. Who could that possibly be?

Step forward Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon. The photo was taken in 2009 in tandem with this article in the Standard and the policy was in the 2012 Lib Dem London manifesto.

Boris blithely dismissed it in the same way Cameron dismissed the raising of the tax threshold policy, saying it was too complicated and costly.

His successor saw the sense in it and used Caroline’s idea in his manifesto. 

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Caroline Pidgeon elected in London …

Caroline Pidgeon… but not as Mayor of London – that will be Labour’s Sadiq Khan, although it has yet to be announced officially.

Instead she has won a seat on the London Assembly from the party list. Sadly she will be our only Assembly Member.

The constituency seats have been shared between Labour (9) and Conservatives (5). The final result for the London Assembly, including the seats allocated from the party lists, is:

Labour – 12

Conservative – 8

Green – 2

UKIP – 2

Lib Dems – 1

The names of all 25 Assembly members can be

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How Caroline Pidgeon would change London for the better

Caroline Pidgeon is spending the last day of campaigning for the Mayoral Election out in Putney with Nick Clegg

LBC has a list of ten ways London would change if she were Mayor.

1) £20 from your council tax will be used to build new houses
The Olympic precept will be maintained, but the money turned to building 50,000 council homes to rent and 150,000 for sale.

2) Tube fares before 7.30am will be half-price
The Lib Dems promise to “introduce half price fares for Tube, Overground rail and DLR travellers before 7.30am – to reduce the cost of travel for thousands of hard-working Londoners and ease peak congestion.”

3) All London’s buses and taxis will become fully electric
A Lib Dem plan is to switch London’s buses and taxis to be fully electric as well as helping to switch commercial vans too.

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Voting in the London elections – after 16 years voters are still confused

Caroline-Pidgeon

The Guardian has an interview with Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.  After disclaiming any responsibility for the cold that has afflicted all the candidates, she says this about her campaign:

Overall, it’s gone well. Ordinary people are saying they like what I’m saying on childcare and cheaper fares that are affordable. And that’s not just in places where we are strong, like Sutton, or in Bermondsey, where I’m known.

She says this of her two main rivals, Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan and the dirty campaign they have been running:

I think both of them, but particularly Zac, will wish they hadn’t done it. It’s damaged their reputations. Zac has always been seen by most people as a decent kind of guy.

On the doorstep voters are still confused about the voting processes for the London elections – and that is not surprising because they will be presented with three ballot papers, each using a different voting system.

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Can you help the London Liberal Democrats beat UKIP and win a third Assembly seat?

London Liberal Democrats are making a push for funds to help them run the best possible final flourish to the campaign and get out the vote operation.

A You Gov poll indicated that if we can just get one more percentage point, we could beat UKIP and get Merlene Emerson elected as our third assembly member.

Caroline Pidgeon says on the London Liberal Democrats’ website:

Polls show that a handful of votes could separate UKIP and the Lib Dems on 5th May.

Those votes will either elect Merlene Emerson to join me on the Assembly, a British-Chinese liberal, or a prejudiced UKIP voice.

For every additional £500 we can contact 93,000 people with Facebook advertising to run alongside our targeted literature and canvassing. We’re aiming to raise £10,000 in the next few days so we can contact our target voters three times each on Facebook to maximise our chances of getting our vote out.

Four years ago we pushed the BNP off the London Assembly. And, by just a few votes, kept out UKIP as well. Help me make sure we do it again.

Thanks again for your support!

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LibLink: Getting real about tackling London’s air pollution

Greenpeace has been asking the London Mayoral candidates about how they would tackle air pollution in London, where air quality is one of the lowest in Europe.

Here is Caroline Pidgeon’s response:

It was not long ago that understanding about air pollution was pitiful, especially amongst MPs. Just 18 months ago a poll of 100 MPs revealed that hardly any recognised that air pollution the second biggest public health risk, with only smoking posing a greater risk.Thankfully things are changing. Yet while the greater recognition of the horrific consequences of air pollution is welcome, the real challenge is to ensure action is actually taken.My manifesto is quite clear that real action is needed straight away.

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Caroline Pidgeon: With me as Mayor, London would work for everyone

 

Caroline Pidgeon has been talking to London 24 about her plans. Most of the interview is policy stuff that we are all aware of – her plans for more affordable childcare, more houses, better transport and half price tube fares before 7:30 am.

She was asked what London would be like after 4 years of her as Mayor:

London would be a far more family-friendly city, and a city that really works for everyone. We’d have more homes to help deal with the housing crisis, we’d have targeted fare measures to really help get people get around, we’d have more cycling infrastructure and improvements for pedestrians, we’d have cleaner air because I’d bring in electric buses and taxies, and less traffic because I would bring in changes to the congestion charge to get some of those private vehicles off the road. Alongside that, I’d be fighting to improve childcare in London, so more wraparound childcare for parents in the mornings, evenings and school holidays. We’d have a city that just works better for everyone.

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Sadiq and Zac agree for once: Caroline Pidgeon is “great” and “impressive”

We know that Caroline Pidgeon is making a very positive impact on London’s mayoral race. In virtually very debate, she is judged to be the winner, with even arch-Tory Iain Dale, now of the LBC parish, saying that the two women were eclipsing the men in the debate.

Caroline was featured in the Standard and the first paragraph of that article had praise from her two biggest rivals. They don’t often agree, but they are clearly both bowled over by her talents.

If the mayoral election was decided on a candidate’s grasp of policy, there’s a good chance Caroline Pidgeon would win it. The Lib-Dem hopeful — who has eight years on the London Assembly under her belt — has impressed even her better-known rivals with her inside knowledge of the City Hall empire.

Zac Goldsmith tells me “she’s great”, before glancing at his media adviser and asking, “Am I allowed to say that?” Sadiq Khan agrees that her handle on London policy is impressive.

Those two get more like Stadtler and Waldorf from the Muppets every day and this is about the only thing they agree on. Why would Londoners want either of them when they could have Caroline?

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Caroline Pidgeon judged winner of ITV/LBC mayoral debate

Mike Smithson had no doubt about the winner of last night’s ITV London/LBC mayoral debate.

And he wasn’t alone. Caroline’s strong performance attracted praise from unexpected quarters.

You can watch the whole thing here:

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Caroline Pidgeon taking Twitter questions this afternoon #AskCaroline

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon will be answering questions on Twitter this afternoon:

This comes the day after her manifesto launch and a successful mayoral debate last night where her performance attracted widespread praise.

Yesterday, she launched her manifesto, which you can read here.

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WATCH: Caroline Pidgeon excels in first LBC London Mayor hustings

This morning, Caroline Pidgeon took part in LBC’s first mayoral debate alongside UKIP’s Peter Whittle, the Greens’ Sian Berry, Tory Zac Goldsmith and Labour’s Sadiq Khan.

I know I’m not unbiased, but if I had listened as an undecided voter, I’d have thought that Caroline would be the best Mayor. She had facts to back up what she was saying, she understood the key transport, housing, policing and childcare problems and talked like a Mayor. This is in contrast to her Labour and Conservative opponents, who sound more like Stadtler and Waldorf from the Muppets every time I listen to them.

Zac’s pitch boiled down to: “I’m a Tory so I know how to talk Tory to other Tories, vote for me.” and Khan’s was “I’m not a Tory, vote for me.” Neither of these inspire any sort of confidence.

Caroline talked about building houses and making sure the workforce has the sufficient skills to deliver, of making sure the lowest paid can get to their work with cheaper fares before 7:30 am, of investing in cleaner taxis & making them affordable for taxi drivers, of building cycleways. It was all good, solid practical stuff.

You can watch the whole thing in these two videos. Enjoy. 

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Caroline Pidgeon interview: The “ordinary Londoner” aspiring to be the city’s first female mayor.

Caroline Pidgeon has been talking to the Ham and High about the qualities she would bring to the office of Mayor.

First and foremost, she uses local services so understands what they need:

Ms Pidgeon believes it is her “ordinary” quality which means she is ideally placed to become the city’s first female Mayor.

“I’m just an ordinary Londoner, I’m the one rushing to catch the tube in the morning and hoping it’s on time, and I’m the one taking my two-year-old to nursery,” she said.

She also highlights her long experience in London’s politics:

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Lib Dem Remain campaign to be launched this afternoon

Tim Farron heads to the unlikely environment of a table tennis bar in London to launch the Lib Dems’ In campaign this afternoon.

Also speaking will be London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon and MEP Catherine Bearder:

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LibLink: The Liberal Democrat vision of Caroline Pidgeon

 

During the week the Guardian published a very rounded post about Caroline Pidgeon and her bid to be Mayor of London.

It starts:

I ask her a gloomy question. She gives an upbeat reply. “Morale is actually very, very good in the party,” said Caroline Pidgeon, who has the possibly onerous honour of being Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor. “We’ve got tons of new members in London who are excited and energetic, and that’s fantastic.” Her party says there are now 10,000 of them in the capital, the highest number for decades. Plus, council by-election results have perked up since last year’s general election gloom: wins in Sutton and Richmond, improved performances elsewhere. “This election is wide open,” Pidgeon enthuses. “We’ve got a new field of candidates and I’m hopeful that as the most experienced candidate with eight years at City Hall, Londoners will give the Liberal Democrats a good vote.”

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Caroline Pidgeon’s plan to cut pollution and improve London’s air quality

Caroline Pidgeon is on a mission to prevent Londoners’ health being harmed by pollution on the capital’s streets. She has just unveiled a pretty radical plan for the congestion charge, raising it for all vehicles and even more for diesel vehicles. Also, she wants to have a peak-time charge.

From the Guardian:

A new report by the party’s mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon recommends a rise in the daily charge collected by automated payment from the current £10.50 to £13 with a higher automated charge of £19 on vehicles entering the zone “at the height of the rush hour” in order to deter traffic from entering the centre of the city.

In what Pidgeon describes as a potential “game changer” in tackling London’s high levels of air pollution she would also slap an additional flat-rate of £2.50 on all diesel-powered vehicles subject to the charge, claiming that this would bring forward the benefits of the forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone, which is not scheduled to be activated until 2020.

She argues that these measures recognise an increase in congestion levels in recent years and that differential pricing would reflect variations in the degree of congestion at different times of day. Although Pidgeon’s definition of the rush hour peak would be kept under review she anticipates that the higher charge rate would initially apply between 7:00 and 9:30 in the morning and between 4:00 and 6:00 in the evening.

Caroline said:

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Caroline Pidgeon “feistiest performer” in first London mayor debate

The first London Mayor debate took place last night and Caroline Pidgeon came in for praise from commentator Martin Hoscik:

Pidgeon was the panel’s feistiest performer, pointedly contrasting her own 8 year term on the London Assembly with her rivals’ lack of City Hall knowledge and experience.

And she provided the evening’s only real flashpoint when she denounced UKIP candidate Peter Whittle’s support for leaving the EU as an “insane” threat to the capital’s economy.

But, perhaps aware of her own bruiser-like tendencies, Pidgeon ensured that her opening statement was peppered with references to her own experiences as a part-time worker and a mum, real-world experiences which could help her connect with enough voters to reclaim the party’s traditional status as the third biggest on the London Assembly to which she’s also seeking re-election.

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LibLink: Caroline Pidgeon: A Lib Dem mayor would help London’s lowest paid get to work

Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon has been writing for Left Foot Forward – a very good move, to connect with many of our former voters.

Her emphasis was on transport and she set out her stall and explained why it would help the lowest paid:

London’s economy is served by many low-paid workers, such as cleaners and security staff, who often get to work long before other people. Half price travel for any journey made before 7.30am would directly benefit many of London’s lowest-paid employees.

The policy also has wider benefits as it will encourage some people to start their journeys at an earlier time. Overcrowding, especially on the Tube, is already a massive issue.

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London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomes TfL takeover of suburban trains

Caroline PidgeonToday it was announced that the Transport for London would take over London’s suburban rail network. From the BBC:

Transport for London (TfL) has announced it will be taking over the running of the capital’s suburban rail network.

It will take over the routes as the various rail franchises come up for renewal.

The new partnership between the Department for Transport and TfL says it aims to ensure there are more frequent trains and increased capacity.

The first rail franchise up for renewal is South West in 2017.

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomed this move, although she did say that it really wasn’t happening fast enough:

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Caroline Pidgeon talks Heathrow, housing, transport and Boris’s mismanagement of industrial relations

Caroline Pidgeon has given a wide ranging interview to the Richmond and Twickenham Guardian.

As 3 new tube strikes loom, she was deeply critical of Boris Johnson:

We are in a very, very bad position in terms of our industrial relations because Boris Johnson has never properly and formally sat down with the unions.

I think he might have passed them in a corridor or something but never formally sat down.

Boris Johnson and TFL messed this up from the start with their deadline. Immediately then the unions could hold him over a barrel and start making more and more demands.”

They did quite rightly raise concerns about working late shifts but occasionally it has seemed some are just spoiling for a fight.

What we need to do is to start off with having a good relationship with the unions and there has been a failure right from 2008 from Boris Johnson to establish that relationship.

“The others want to be something, I want to do something”

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