The vote for who will be the next London Mayor on 5 May is rapidly approaching so I want to explain why I’ll be voting for Labour’s Sadiq Khan. Sadiq is a Londoner – born on a council estate to immigrant parents he went to his local comprehensive school and has succeeded, first as a solicitor and then as an MP and government minister. The son of a bus driver he is totally grounded and in touch with ordinary Londoners.
It is clearly obvious that his Tory opponent is the polar opposite – elitist, privileged and completely out of touch with every day life and people. What’s more the Tories are running a negative campaign that is trying to divide London’s diverse communities and spread fear and scare stories. It is desperate stuff and contrasts starkly with the positive and unifying campaign that Labour and Sadiq are running under the slogan “A Mayor for all Londoners.”
No where is Sadiq’s campaign more in touch with ordinary voters than his promise to freeze tube and bus fares for the full four years of his mayoral term. Over the last 8 years under the Tories the cost of travelling on public transport has gone up every single year. Unrelenting fare increases as the cost of housing in the capital has rocketed and ordinary workers pay packets have reduced in real terms as inflation has continued to rise and wages post the international financial crisis have stagnated.
The Tories are pedalling scare stories that Sadiq can’t afford his fare freeze and that there is a hole in his calculations for TFL’s budgets going forward. This is complete nonsense. In my role as chair of London Councils’ (the body that represents the 32 Boroughs and the City) Transport and Environment Committee I have regular quarterly meetings with TFL’s Commissioner, Mike Brown and it is clear that there is huge scope for efficiencies and income generation within TFL and Sadiq will be able to honour his fare freeze and continue the vital investment in London’s public transport infrastructure. Vote for Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Dr Onkar Sahota on 5 May.