Sadiq Khan has named Tom Copley, a Labour London Assembly Member and Lewisham councillor, as his next deputy mayor for housing and residential development following the election to parliament last month of the present holder of that position, James Murray.
Copley, who currently chairs the Assembly’s housing committee, has been a prominent campaigner for increasing the amount of social housing built in London and for tighter regulation of the private rented sector, including the levels of rent charged.
He was first elected as a Londonwide AM in 2012 and had been hoping to retain his seat at the Assembly elections in May, but will now step down from the Assembly at the end of this four-year term and also resign as a councillor. City Hall says his starting date will be after he has stepped down from those two posts and be announced “shortly”.
Born in Stockport and brought up in Buxton and Salisbury, Copley moved to London to work for a Labour MP, then as as a political organiser – including for his Assembly colleague Nicky Gavron – and the anti-racist and anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate.
Interviewed by On London last summer, Copley described being an AM as providing “a great platform” for highlighting issues and holding Mayors to account, as long “you’ve done your reading”. He also underlined his support for securing the support of residents for regeneration schemes by means of a ballot and Mayor Khan’s proposals for introducing rent controls, whilst recognising the potential pitfall. Unlike the Mayor, he advocates carefully controlled building on Green Belt land where development has already taken place, notably by public transport notes.
Murray has been regarded as a star of Khan’s team, winning respect across the capital’s diffuse and varied housing sector for his grasp of the complexities of housing finance and his understanding of the challenges of matching housing supply to demand in the capital. Copley’s output as an AM has included influential reports on the impacts of Right to Buy and the conversion of offices into homes under the government’s “permitted development” measures.
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