Meet The People Who Want To Be The Tory Party Mayoral Candidate

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 40 months ago
Meet The People Who Want To Be The Tory Party Mayoral Candidate

Whoever the Conservative Party picks as its mayoral election candidate is likely to be one of the main challengers for the hotseat at City Hall. You may have heard that Labour is allowing anyone to pay £3 for a vote in the 'primary' — the election process to decide which of its shortlisted candidates gets the final nod. What's been less well publicised is that the Conservatives are doing something very similar. For the cost of £1, anyone on the electoral register in London can sign up. Hustings and voting will take place throughout September.

Interested? These are the four men you're choosing between. We asked them to tell us a little bit about themselves.

Andrew Boff

Andrew has been a London Assembly Member since 2008, and leader of the Assembly Conservatives since 2012. He's also been a councillor in Hackney and Hillingdon, where he served as leader between 1990-92. Born in a council house, he takes a particular interest in promoting family housing. He has authored a number of reports concerning (among other things) an analysis of human trafficking, improving crime reporting and housing on the Olympic site. Before 2008 he ran an IT support business. He lives in Barking. You can follow him on Twitter and register support on his website.

What do you see as the most important issues in London?
London's democracy needs to change. I will use my mandate to argue that those people outside the GLA boundary, who get all the benefits of London (those people in the travel to work area), should also pay the precept and be included in an expanded GLA. Londoners should also be able to determine GLA policies through direct democracy.

Not enough people are building: self-build will be expanded on the many spaces left on brownfield sites by, in some cases, giving away the land; the value being recouped on the subsequent resale. To help reduce overcrowding, high-quality larger homes need to be built with incentives provided for developers who provide them. All developments will have to carry a statement why they aren't developing street based housing; a form of housing that will be promoted in the London Plan. Housing zones will be increased and, along with other authorities, we will start to build 40 new Garden Cities in the South East. Londoners feel like they are losing control of their horizon to developers: apart from in five areas (The City, Canary Wharf, Nine Elms, Central Croydon and one other) no residential building will be permitted above six storeys. There will be incentives for developers to rip down tower blocks and redevelop street based housing.

Policing needs better resourcing at a local ward level and a flatter management structure. Borough policing will be abolished allowing the commissioner to precinct London in the most effective way possible. I want to suppress the demand for illegal immigration or trafficked labour by persuading the government to devolve the enforcement of the minimum wage to either the boroughs or the GLA.

What makes you different from the other candidates?
I know Stephen and Syed well but Zac not so much. So from that limited information I can say that the differences are that I'm poorer, I'm gay and I like singing. Apart from that our DNA is pretty much the same. We're Tories and that means we don't pull the wool over people's eyes.

Zac Goldsmith

Zac grew up in Richmond, and was elected MP for the area in 2010. Before going to parliament he directed and edited the Ecologist Magazine and received Mikhail Gorbachev’s Global Green Award for ‘International Environmental Leadership’. He continues to raise significant funds for a wide range of conservation and environmental campaigns. Sign up for more information on his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you see as the most important issues in London?
Providing homes for Londoners is the single most important issue facing London. Boris Johnson has built more houses than anyone for a generation, but our city’s population is growing faster than ever before and, simply to keep up, we need to double the number of homes being built. There is a real risk that Londoners, the very people that make this the greatest city on earth, will be priced out of their city. We need a relentless focus on releasing publicly-owned brownfield land for development, putting empty homes back on the market, making a London-first bias for new developments and cracking down on high rents so Londoners are not denied the chance of saving for a deposit to own their own home. But if we are to deliver the level of new homes we need, we need the consent of communities and that means working with, not against them.

For the same reason, we need to continue with the record levels of investment we’ve seen in our transport system under Boris. The next mayor will need to secure the right deal for Londoners from central government to continue expanding the network, making commutes even safer, faster, cleaner and more reliable, while bearing down on the cost of travel so it delivers value for money for Londoners.

Finally, we have to make London not only the best city in the world but the best city to live in and raise a family. Crime has fallen in London over the last eight years and our communities and neighbourhoods are now safer because of it. We must continue that progress, while also making London a more liveable city, tackling air pollution and noise pollution, and improving and protecting our green spaces.

What makes you different from the other candidates?
Boris Johnson has shown what a strong campaigning Mayor can achieve for London. He has brought investment, created jobs and made our city safer.

As an MP, I have campaigned hard on the issues that matter to my constituents, whether pressing for free parking to help our small shops, securing much-needed new school places, fighting to stop Heathrow expansion, persuading government to provide more funds for Kew Gardens, or campaigning to give voters more power over their MPs. I have seen how a campaigning MP can make a real difference.

A successful Mayor must be able to work with government to negotiate a good deal for Londoners, and stand up to government when it gets things wrong. My record as an MP shows I have done both, and it would be an honour to do the same for all Londoners.

Stephen Greenhalgh

Stephen was born in Watford but has lived all his life in west London. He was elected as a councillor for Hammersmith and Fulham in 1996 and in 2006 led the Conservatives in gaining control of the council. While there he developed a reputation for cutting costs. He stood down in 2012, and was later appointed Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. Find out more on his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you see as the most important issues in London?
London is a huge engine of opportunity but our capital city also faces complex challenges that will not be solved by glib solutions. The challenge for a future Mayor is to make London's housing and transport less expensive for hard working people. And the public safety of Londoners cannot be taken for granted in this era of austerity where the Met has to find another £800m savings. These issues have a profound impact on the future prospects and aspirations of millions of fellow citizens.

I am committed to deliver a step change in the number of low-cost homes that Londoners can own and also to provide 50,000 affordable homes for the people that keep the city alive — our police officers, firefighters, paramedics, teachers, doctors and nurses. I have also committed to cut tube, rail and travelcard fares by 3% each year of my mayoral term saving a zone 1-3 travelcard holder £900 over four years. The quality of the local environment in its widest sense and the liveability of our city are also very high up on my list of importance and I have published a five-point plan to improve air quality. I have a plan for London and a plan gives Londoners hope.

What makes you different from the other candidates?
When I promise, I deliver! That is what makes me different. Of all the candidates, I have a track record of delivery. I have over a decade of experience in the engine room of London government both at town hall as Hammersmith and Fulham council leader and City Hall level as Boris's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

Syed Kamall

Syed has been an MEP for London since 2005, and in 2014 he was chosen as Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, the political group which British Conservatives belong to in the European Parliament. He was born and grew up in London; his father moved to Britain in the 1950s and worked as a bus driver and on the railways. Find out more on his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you see as the most important issues in London?
Housing is the biggest issue Londoners tell me that they need addressing. I know myself what it's like trying to save for a deposit for my first home while watching most of my income being gobbled up in rent. I know what it's like to have to move to another area when I can't afford to buy a bigger place in the area I currently live in. Now — like many parents — I worry about how my children will ever be able to afford to live in London at all. I speak to people who became property owners under Margaret Thatcher's Right to Buy scheme and are now facing trying to take out a new mortgage because of badly thought-out regeneration projects. This can't be right.

Older people need desirable housing that protects their independence. We need to make sure public bodies release undeveloped land to build more homes for Londoners. That is why housing is my number one priority. There is no one simple fix but there are multiple answers and if I become Mayor I will start making those things happen to give Londoners the chance to live in their city.

What makes you different from the other candidates?
I'm a real Londoner. I was born here. I grew up here and am bringing up my family here. My father was a London bus driver. I grew up in the 1980s, when the message was that if you were prepared to work and put in the effort, you could succeed in whatever you wanted to achieve. Just as I have achieved some success, I want to make sure all Londoners have the opportunity to achieve their ambitions.

Read more about the people from other parties who want to be London's mayor.

Last Updated 11 November 2015