I want to be the next Conservative Mayor of London and I believe I am well qualified. I have led a London borough, grown businesses, started charities and acted on the West End stage. I was born in London, brought up in London and have raised a family here. I know London and I know the important role it has as both a global city and a capital city.
But London, like the London Conservatives, is at a crossroads. Growing pains, rising crime and underinvested transport define London after two years of Sadiq Khan. The Conservatives in London need a narrative and a vision to tell Londoners why we deserve to run London.
London is a divided city. The Labour Mayor and the Left have always sought to divide us and see division as the space in which they thrive. Khan divides us on faith, ethnicity, Leave or Remain, Inner or Outer London. The Left pour vinegar on our divisions but the future story of the Conservative party is how we bring the city together once we leave the European Union.
The Conservative London message must be that we will heal those divisions and tackle the big issues together. I talk about our vision being of OneLondon – Londoners working together to tackle our future and ensuring that London is built on its communities and its boroughs, not on the Mayor’s office.
On crime we need to give more control over local policing to the boroughs and their leaders and end the centralisation under Khan that divides communities between those who get policing and those who don’t. Knife crime is the most difficult issue to tackle today, but with crime rising who knows what will we need to deal with by 2020.
Personally, I believe we need to increase stop and search and start using portable knife arches at stations on a random basis, especially where we know crime hotspots are. My father was a Metropolitan Police officer and he always believed that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. With scooter crime we need to see what can be done to ensure only clear visor helmets are used and restrict pillion riders. We also need to be careful about how we report and talk about crime.
It suits Khan’s narrative to divide us by blaming government funding for rising crime but as any borough leader will tell you there are many ways to maintain services with a declining budget. Khan’s problem is that he does not understand London local government and appears not to speak to those in his team who do.
On transport we need to reform the entire fare structure so that we move away from the complicated multi-zone approach to a simpler fares system, a OneLondon system. Additionally, I think it is time we gave Londoners a fairer share of the benefits of living in London in a way that improves the quality of life of all Londoners. How we do that is something we need to develop over the coming months.
Ever increasing housing targets are not getting more homes built and Londoners are beginning to lose patience with the lack of delivery. We need to question whether London can really build the homes we need, either in the quantities or at the speed required. Working together, we need to help boroughs support growth. We can start that by deregulating, by means of a less prescriptive London Plan. We should let boroughs, not Transport For London, plan for the future of TfL land and stop the ridiculous delays in getting homes built on public land as a whole. We also need to start using London money to help areas outside of London build more homes, supported by our infrastructure.
Over the coming months there will be lots of policy to adopt and new challenges to solve, but a OneLondon approach recognises that in a diverse London, formed from 32 boroughs and a financial centre, what we do together will create a more sustainable London and one that preserves the quality of life of all Londoners.
I want to be Mayor because I believe I have the skills and understanding of our city to create a Conservative vision for OneLondon and, importantly, I have the tenacity and will to hold Sadiq Khan to account and defeat him.
Kevin Davis is one of ten Conservative mayoral hopefuls included on a longlist of ten. This will be whittled down to a shortlist of three at the weekend and Conservative members in London will choose their candidate from that trio in time for their national party conference. You can follow Kevin on Twitter.