The candidates for London Mayor – in their own words

With the selection of the party’s London Mayoral candidate imminent, the team at Liberal Reform want to ensure party members are able to make an informed choice.  So, we invited each of the candidates to discuss their experience, campaigning priorities, and policies.  Liberal Reform is not backing any one candidate and the purpose of the interviews is to allow people to compare the responses they give to a set of questions on liberal issues affecting the people of London. The topic is obviously focussed on London but as the UK’s capital city the issues have a wider significance as many are shared by other metropolitan areas and decisions in London can set a national precedent. In alphabetical order, you can find each candidate interview below:

Although neutral on the candidates Liberal Reform is committed to London as a liberal city and therefore it is important to get the candidates’ views on the same list of issues. The topics discussed with all candidates are:

  • The candidate’s own background and experience
  • Their campaign strategy
  • How they would address housing & homelessness
  • Their views on transport: both public and privately-run services (including the often controversial subject of Uber and private hire services)
  • Their views on crime in London and what needs to be done
  • How they see Brexit impacting on London and its international status
  • The environment and how they would tackle issues such as air quality and waste as well as London’s impact.

While letting the candidates speak for themselves, it’s interesting to see many of them taking a more pro-competition angle when it comes to ride-sharing and private hire than the Lib Dems have been known for previously. The scale of London’s housing crisis, and the resulting need to take-up new approaches to finding space to build new homes was also a theme across most, but not all, interviews. All agreed on the need to tackle crime, and make Brexit central to our campaign. What’s also noteworthy is the mix of experience among the candidates.

The interviews were carried out by Liberal Reform board members Aria Babu, Andy Biggs and Dan Carr. The editing was kept to a minimum to provide brevity and clarity. You can also get access to the whole set via the Liberal Reform website. 

You can see the individual interviews for each candidate at the following locations:

Siobhan Benita

Rob Blackie

Dinesh Dhamija

Lucy Salek

The hustings for London Mayor will be held tonight from 6.30pm to 9pm at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BJ and we hope that these interviews will help those who can vote to make an informed choice for a liberal London. Voting opened today and will close on 21 November.

* Dr Robert Johnston is a Liberal Reform Board Member, member of the Association of Liberal Democrat Engineers and Scientists and Fellow of the Institute of Physics.

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10 Comments

  • paul barker 31st Oct '18 - 2:05pm

    As a London member I worry that we are doing this much too soon. Nothing much may happen in the next few Months or the whole shape of British Politics might be changed, we dont know. I feel we are restricting our options before the possibilities become clear. Next Spring or Summer might have been better.

  • John Marriott 31st Oct '18 - 2:17pm

    The cynic might ask; “Why bother?”

  • Callum Robertson 31st Oct '18 - 2:48pm

    Because we have a duty to provide a liberal alternative, and we can gain Assembly Members, vote share and maybe next time, the Mayoralty.

  • Must say that candidates majoring on their opposition to Brexit may be assigning themselves a ‘sell-by’ date.

  • John Marriott 31st Oct '18 - 3:38pm

    @Callum Robertson
    In the words of Alexander Pope; “Hope springs eternal”.

  • Opinion polls in London show us within shouting distance of the Tories – the most recent London yougov poll (in September) showing us on 15%, Tories on 26% and Labour on 48%. Now this is for the General election and we tend to do worse in the Mayoral elections and opinion polls.

    It is (very) likely that the Mayoral election could become a referendum on Brexit and Labour and the Tories’ support for it – in a very remain city. Coupled with bold policies – particularly on transport but also on housing and environmental issues, there is a strategy and a possibility – and only a possibility – that we could come second – which with a preferential voting system does become interesting.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Nov '18 - 4:45pm

    David: Brexit will not suddenly stop being an issue after March 2019. Whether it happens or not, and whatever sort of Brexit we get, it will remain a political issue for the next 10 years at least.
    Michael 1: Yes, coming second would be great. However, I have a sense that many voters misunderstand the Supplementary Vote system, and think they have to vote for one of the front runners as their first choice, and they can use their second preference for a minor candidate. But this action most likely wastes their second preference, when the opposite action would send a stronger signal to the eventual winner of where their vote is coming from.

  • @Alex Macfie

    You are IMHO absolutely right that Brexit will become an even greater issue after March – whatever happens. To add to my post actually when Yougov polled General Election and Mayoral election voting intentions at the same time in the past – the parties including us were essentially within 1%-2% in their Mayoral first preference and their General Election poll ratings so it is actually a reasonably good indication of where the parties start.

    I think also it COULD be possible that a bandwagon for us begins to roll if we close in on the Tories and it is possible that the Osborne edited Evening Standard MIGHT look fairly benignly on us both on Brexit and as a (mild) rebuke to May or even Boris by then (!) and if it becomes interesting for the national media which obv. covers London politics more than other local politics.

    There is also a change in that Mayoral elections were the Ken show and then the Ken and Boris show – with a look-in for us being difficult between the two of them and that has passed – with the Tory candidate not having much name recognition.

    Obv. we need to get past the Tories for the Supplemental Vote to kick in and one can expect Labour to be near to 50%.

  • David Allen 2nd Nov '18 - 7:53pm

    London is likely to raise a massive vote against the disaster that Brexit will have become. If the Tory Government has not already fallen in the wake of the ensuing food shortages, transport blockages and riots, London will seek to vote them out – Especially because the Tories will be into a new stage of negotiations with the EU, grovelling to be rescued from their own folly.

    However, Sadiq Khan will – deservedly – be the main recipient of that vote. Whilst Corbyn has ducked and weaved, Khan has not.

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