Mayoral Candidate Syed Kamall MEP answers our questions

CWF asked all four Mayoral hopefuls 10 questions all Londoners want the answers to.  Up first: Syed Kamall MEP


1) What is your top priority for London?

I have a number of priorities, which include building more housing, ensuring Londoners have access to a more modern transport system and a cleaner environment along with policing our city better.

2) What was Boris Johnson's best policy?

I particularly like Boris’ policy of turning empty properties into affordable housing. We have a shortage of housing in London and the idea that there are empty properties makes no sense.

Although, I think Boris will be best remembered for his bike hire scheme, delivering the London Olympics and encouraging tech start ups in London.

3) Who is your favourite figure from London's history?

Dick Whittington, I appreciate some of the stories told about him are mythical, yet at the same time they are inspirational. Anyone can come to London and become Mayor which chimes with my beliefs in ambition and opportunity.

4) Where is your favourite spot in London?

Speakers' corner. It's a great testament to the freedoms we enjoy in Britain that we take for granted while so many others around the world are denied the same right.

5) How will you get grassroots Conservative activists involved in your Mayoral campaign?

I regularly campaign with grassroots activists every week, I have campaigned with hundreds of council, GLA, by-election and General Election candidates over the years as well as with CF and Team 2015. I have a good relationship with activists from associations across London and beyond.

6) What was Ken Livingston's worst policy?

Ken Livingstone had a policy to build 50% of affordable housing in each borough. This made many developments uneconomic for developers. Surely it would have been better to have aimed for a lower target and actually built more homes than achieving 50% of nothing.

Where housing was built, I recall one newspaper reporting that the most he’d ever achieved was 35% and when questioned by the same newspaper, his office said that his record on affordable housing was “not particularly good.”

7) How would you help Londoners on low incomes?

It is clear we need to build more homes. Not only that, but, we should be building homes where there is demand.

If elected as the Mayor, I will work hard to deliver more housing and encourage the best brains in London to come up with innovative schemes such as shared ownership or rent to buy to reduce the cost of home ownership.

I will also work towards reducing living costs to help Londoners prosper. Let's look at more off peak fares to make it cheaper to commute at less crowded times and look into the feasibility of a London residents card to give Londoners free entry or discounts to many attractions while tourists have to pay. We might also be able to negotiate discounts with retailers and restaurants.

I would also like to encourage more local time banks where local residents can trade skills such as fixing a bike for a hair cut.

8) Congestion Charge: for or against expansion in West London?

Against. I believe in more carrots than sticks. Let's incentivise more people to leave their cars at home or to drive less polluting vehicles.

9) Do you have a favourite London pub?

I tend to have a coffee or dine at one of the numerous riverside or park cafés across London. On Fridays, I'm often to be found in the St John's Smith Square cafe in Westminster or the Pickled Pantry in Surbiton where I hold meetings with constituents.

10) Tube automation: where do you stand?

I would like to see driverless trains phased in over time, but, we will still need staff on board driverless trains especially in cases of emergency in deep bore tunnels without emergency exits to other tunnels. The on board staff would be customer facing and deal with passenger enquiries hopefully making traveling on the underground a better experience

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