Sakina Sheikh: Why I’m standing to be a Labour London Assembly candidate

Like many of you, I campaigned tirelessly during the general election. The defeat was devastating and winter has never felt darker. As we get ready for the fightback, I ask you to join me with hope as we work to win back the trust of our communities.

The people most in need of political change have been shut out of decision-making. If successfully elected to be Labour’s candidate on the London Assembly, I will bring our movement into City Hall. It is my priority to work with disabled people, LGBTQI+ communities, women and BAME folk who have had to fight for a seat at the table – it’s time they set the agenda.

As a Lewisham Labour councillor and a climate justice campaigner, I know how much we need politicians who will stand up to developers, oil companies and the finance industry who have turned London into a playground for the rich.

If we want to end homelessness in London, we need fearless leadership from City Hall demanding an overhaul of our planning laws. The ‘viability assessment’, a result of scandalous planning policy, absolves developers of the duty to build genuinely affordable homes, if they can’t derive the profit they desire. It should be scrapped.

Developers’ interests are also protected by planning agreements like Section 106, which should be there to help councils ensure some social housing is built. But the consequence we’ve seen all too often is social segregation by design. We must push for rapid construction of social housing, with a focus on accessible and spacious homes, with steps to prevent working class people having to live along our most polluted roads. Let’s shift the focus to human need, not private profit.

As so many communities continue to bear the brunt of austerity, our political vision must be clear – the free market has failed. We need a plan on the scale of the green new deal to change our very economic model while ensuring we prevent climate catastrophe. Political leadership at every level will be needed for this to be possible and a green new deal for London can be the start we need.

Let’s cover our city in solar, insulate London’s drafty homes and end fuel poverty. Let’s address today’s environmental racism, stop fossil fuel companies using London’s reputation to burn the planet and support local councils to create community-owned energy companies.

I am running to interrupt the business-as-usual, tinkering-around-the-edges approach to political change. Elect me, and I will be unequivocal in my commitment to redistribute power and resources back to the people. You can read my ten point policy plan here.

My candidacy is endorsed by my union Unite, as well as ASLEF, TSSA, the bakers’ union BFAWU and Momentum. Join me with your courage and hope – select me to be your Labour candidate in the London Assembly, and together let’s #SheikhUpCityHall. Ballots will be emailed to Labour members on February 5th, and close on February 19th.

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