Letter to Londoners: We have a chance to do things differently

12th May, 2015 1:17 pm


Regardless of how you voted, it is a shocking result. Not even the Tories anticipated a Conservative majority government. Labour and indeed other smaller parties will have to go away and do some soul-searching about why this happened and what might need to change.

Over the past weeks and months London Labour has run a staggering and inspiring campaign. I would like to pay tribute to the hours and hours our volunteers put in, many of whom I got to know on the doorstep from inner city seats to London’s outer suburbs. They secured the re-election of committed MPs such as Karen Buck and Andy Slaughter, and delivered fabulous wins in Ilford North and Bermondsey. My thoughts go out to those dedicated supporters who fought so valiantly in seats like Finchley and Croydon Central, but were narrowly defeated. And to those in safe Tory seats, who were never going to win but campaigned anyway on the strength of their convictions.

One thing is clear. London voted Labour. London voted for progress, voted against the bedroom tax, voted against non-dom status and swingeing cuts to welfare. On the doorstep, canvassing and volunteering with so many, made plain to me the passion and the values that shape this city, and distinguish it electorally from the rest of the country.

We in London have a chance to do things differently. Our devolved system provides a unique opportunity to conduct the kind of politics that serves Londoners, not vested interests; that acts to solve the city’s real housing crisis, not one that builds houses for overseas millionaires; one that promotes small businesses and enterprise, and fights to deliver a living wage for everyone; one that can set a gold standard of sustainability for the rest of the country to aspire to. This is why I care so deeply about running for Mayor, and earning the chance to serve.

I’ve not sat in the Commons, but I have dedicated my life to writing and campaigning on social issues. I’ve been campaigning for the Labour nomination since 2012 because I think London deserves better than the tired routine epitomised by the last mayoral campaign. And in the next seven weeks, I will continue to seek your trust and will work hard to convince you that bold ideas and a fresh approach can deliver a better quality of life for Londoners, whether in Zone 1 or Zone 6.

And let’s not forget, Boris is back in the Commons. We’ve got twelve months of a part-time Tory mayor to hammer home the case for change.

Five more years of Tory government. Let’s fight to protect London.

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