Councillor Tony Devenish, the Conservative candidate for West Central for the 2016 London Assembly elections, answers Conservative Way Forward's questions.
1. Why are you a Conservative?
I am a Conservative for the very same reasons I am a founding member of CWF and Westminster City Councillor who was proud to have Lady Thatcher as my most treasured Belgravia resident. Individuals, families and nation states are the organic foundations of our Society. Not 'ism's' and ideology though I'll make an exception for Thatcherism. I'm a small state Conservative, except when our nation is under threat at times of war. Every penny an individual earns should rightfully be retained by that individual unless the State can justify it is spending all the money it has already taken properly.
2. What is your top priority for London?
My top priority for London is to recognise that our city is a series of very special urban villages built up over many hundreds of years. My role is to safeguard our heritage and our communities as London inevitably expands, while scrutinising the main powers of the Mayor. We must support front-line public services: be those policing, transport, or strategic planning; BUT NOT always accepting the answer is more taxpayers' money. The residents and businesses of my three London Boroughs - Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham and the City of Westminster - have played a unique role in our nation's history, and Zac understands this.
3. What is Boris Johnson's best policy?
Boris Johnson is always, like Lady Thatcher, on the side of the individual and not the State. He has been 'selling' London as a truly global city, in much the same positive way as Ronald Reagan's 'sunlit uplands'. He has fought 'banker bashing' and other post-2007 Jeremy Corbyn-style negativity. One example of a great policy was understanding that council tax hit the poorest Londoners hardest (and our senior citizens who are cash poor), so Boris kept the Mayoral Precept down.
4. Why should Zac Goldsmith be elected Mayor of London next May?
Zac Goldsmith should be elected Mayor of London next May because like Boris he has the right core principles and a record (as MP for Richmond and North Kingston) of standing up to Government (whatever its political colour) for Londoners.
5. Why is it so important to keep London blue?
It is hugely important. Conservatives are less likely to win a General Election if we continue to grow our constituency majorities to 20,000+ in the Home Counties as people often leave London because of housing and quality of life issues. We should not under-estimate Labour, even Ed Miliband won London at the General Election by 9%. We should remember that devolution will mean the next Mayor will have huge control over parts of the economy, the powerhouse of UK Plc. Allowing a political extremist like Sadiq Khan to control those levers of power would be unthinkable.
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