Luisa Porritt launches campaign to become next Mayor of London


London Liberal Democrats mayoral candidate Luisa Porritt today launched her campaign, setting out her vision to Take London Forward. 

Luisa, a former MEP and current Camden councillor, shared her plans for jobs, homes and clean air. 

“With the right leadership, I know we can take London forward."

Luisa announced she would create a London Housing Company, with office space abandoned as . She explained: “No more desperate deals with developers or selling off public land for somebody else’s benefit.

“The London Housing Company will take control of building the homes we need directly by bringing empty properties back into use, maximising use of public land, driving forward the Affordable Homes Programme, raising revenue to build sites of its own and shaping the future of London’s housing market - hands on."

Luisa also criticised the "utterly shameful" response of the Metropolitan Police in their handling of the vigil for murdered Sarah Everard. She said: "The Metropolitan Police had the opportunity to do the right thing. They could have found a way for the vigil to go ahead safely, and that’s what I urged Cressida Dick to do. 

“But we were denied this basic right. The right to voice our collective grief, pain and anger. The right to challenge people in positions of power. The right to protest.

“London is a liberal city. So it’s no wonder that defiant women stayed true to their liberal values and decided to attend the vigil anyway. 

“The police response was utterly shameful. From start to finish, the Met Police got it horribly wrong and that’s why the Commissioner must go."

Policy highlights: 

"But I’ve also worked alongside Shaun Bailey. And he certainly is not the right person to represent Londoners. Out of touch with cheap tricks and crass comments, he and the Tories do not understand the diverse, open and European London that we all love.

"I know Luisa well as a campaigner, a councillor, a former Member of the European Parliament for London. But I also know her as a Londoner, a friend and someone who represents the future of our city if we choose a future which is innovative and internationalist. A future which is green and affordable. And a future with the next generation of leadership to Take London Forward."

Support Luisa's campaign: 

 

 

Full text of Luisa Porritt's launch speech:

“Thank you Caroline for that very kind introduction. You work so hard for Londoners and we’re determined to elect more Liberal Democrats to join you at City Hall this May.

“And good morning to all of you.

“I'm Luisa Porritt, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.

“I’m standing here at my local pub. Like so many Londoners, I can’t wait to be back here once restrictions ease. Though it’s probably a bit too early to start queuing.

“I’m here today to tell you about my plan to Take London Forward. 

“Growing up here in Camden, I was fortunate enough to enjoy many of the amazing things that this city has to offer.

“But I’ve always been acutely aware that many Londoners don't have the same opportunities that I did.

“That doesn’t mean it was all easy. I graduated amid the last recession and spent years jumping from one internship and short-term contract to another. 

“But I knew I was lucky to be able to live at home, so I could gain the experience that I needed to kickstart my career. 

“Like many Londoners today, I’ve also lived in overpriced rented flats, loosely managed by poor landlords. That’s often seen as the inevitable way to spend your twenties. But it shouldn’t be.

“Having lived in London for most of my life, our polluted air is the reason I’m asthmatic. I know that if we don’t act now, then the consequences for the next generation will be far worse. 

“Jobs. Homes. Clean Air. Those are three basic needs - and we’re being let down on all three. My plan to Take London Forward will give Londoners what they need.

“We’ve also been let down recently by the people who are supposed to be there to protect us.

“What happened to Sarah Everard - a young woman my age - is every woman’s fear turned into a real life nightmare.

“Every woman I know has been thinking about Sarah - we’ve been reflecting on our own near misses, and the constant calculations that we make in order to try and keep ourselves from harm. 

“Sarah’s story hit us all, because she made those calculations and she still wasn’t safe.

“On Saturday, like so many other women, I wanted to attend the planned vigil for her and for all women. 

“The Metropolitan Police had the opportunity to do the right thing. They could have found a way for the vigil to go ahead safely, and that’s what I urged Cressida Dick to do. 

“But we were denied this basic right. The right to voice our collective grief, pain and anger. The right to challenge people in positions of power. The right to protest.

“London is a liberal city. So it’s no wonder that defiant women stayed true to their liberal values and decided to attend the vigil anyway. 

“The police response was utterly shameful. From start to finish, the Met Police got it horribly wrong and that’s why the Commissioner must go.

“I will not let this become another conversation we have and then move on from. 

“And I will always defend the right of every Londoner’s voice to be heard.

“At this crucial moment for our capital, we have a choice. 

 “Do we return to the five-day office commute, miserable for most and often unsafe and inconvenient for women?

“Do we stick with the same way of doing things that’s led to high rents, poor landlords and the pipe dream of home ownership? 

“Do we consign ourselves to breathing polluted air? Covid-19 isn’t the only silent killer on the streets of London.

 “Or do we choose another path? Not to reset, but to move forward - to a happier future, where people can thrive.

 “The Liberal Democrats have a plan to do just that. A plan to Take London Forward with three simple priorities: Jobs, Homes and Clean Air.

“Our city has changed radically in the last year, and with big change comes big opportunity. 

“With the right leadership, I know we can take London forward.

“Unemployment is currently worse in London than any other part of the UK as a result of the pandemic.

“You wouldn’t know that from the Government’s lazy narrative about levelling up, where the Tories try to pit us against the rest of the country. 

“Small businesses are on their knees, with debts piled up during the pandemic through no fault of their own and Brexit already squeezing their margins. 

“Last week, The Mayor launched his campaign with a promise of jobs. Yet I heard nothing about what he would do to create them.

“He’s spent his entire term in office asking the Government to do things, but not delivering anything himself. 

“Tweeting for London is easy, but a plan to Take London Forward is what we need.

“My plan for jobs includes reinventing every high street in the capital so that, once again, they become thriving places at the heart of our communities.

“That means no longer relying solely on retail, by introducing a range of services that local people want and need - from shared working spaces to childcare, to more places to eat and drink after work.

“Lib Dem-run Sutton Council is already leading the way on this. Taking ownership of buildings and bringing in a mix of uses to meet the local community’s needs.

“As Mayor, I would establish a Reinvent The High Street Taskforce to showcase best practice, gather data, raise funds and provide the technical support to local councils needed to make these transformations a reality all over the capital. 

“If we want our city to be somewhere people can work, it has to be somewhere affordable to live.

“This Mayor’s failure to take responsibility and make use of his own powers is shown so clearly by his failure to deliver the homes we need.

 “Despite having five years and record-breaking grants from the Government, he’s started just under half of the homes he promised.

“Then two weeks ago, he downgraded his target again.  

“Having a decent roof over your head is a human right. Good quality housing should be as available as running water. 

“We have to make big changes now.

“That’s why, as Mayor, I would establish a London Housing Company.

“No more desperate deals with developers or selling off public land for somebody else’s benefit.

“The London Housing Company will take control of building the homes we need directly by bringing empty properties back into use, maximising use of public land, driving forward the Affordable Homes Programme, raising revenue to build sites of its own and shaping the future of London’s housing market - hands on.

“And I think we have a golden opportunity. Homeworking is here to stay.

“Employees want the flexibility of working some days a week from home and employers see the benefits too. That’s the new reality businesses and individuals are planning for.

 “In the coming years, we’ll have more empty office space come onto the market than ever before. This is a generational opportunity. 

“We must seize the agenda and challenge ourselves to convert these spaces into quality, affordable, zero-carbon homes. 

“If they can do it in Rotterdam, we can do it here too.

“One of the first tasks of the London Housing Company will be to commission a study into the size of that opportunity.

“In Paris, a recent study revealed 40% of businesses moving to 2 days a week of homeworking would mean a 30% reduction in office space - that’s over 3 million square metres coming back onto the market.

“Just imagine what we could do with a fraction of that space here in London.

“Our housing crisis won't be fixed with more of the same. We need big ideas and urgent action.

“That’s also true of the climate emergency- our planet won't wait for us to get over this pandemic.

“As a former financial journalist, I know we don’t have to choose between tackling the climate emergency and boosting economic growth - we can have a green recovery.

“The Mayor has a big part to play in this through their control over transport.

“For a start, the current Mayor should ditch his £2billion polluting Silvertown tunnel project. 

“This major new motorway is totally incompatible with our climate targets and will pollute our air. We should be spending the money on clean, green public transport like better cycle routes or the Bakerloo Line Extension.

“But we can also think bigger. London should introduce a new, fair, pay-as-you-go road pricing system - which will help fix TfL’s funding crisis and encourage Londoners to make greener choices.

“There’s no doubt the Government should have stepped in to support our public transport network during the pandemic, but the Mayor also needs a plan to finance it for the future.

“This is the moment to embrace big, bold changes, not tie ourselves to what we did in the past.

“We can't create jobs, build houses, combat the climate emergency or restore trust between the police and Londoners without leadership. 

“Right now, London has a nowhere Mayor, who moans in press releases while pretending he has no power to do anything.

“Meanwhile the Conservatives’ disastrous candidate has proven time after time he’s grossly out of touch with Londoners, putting him on course for the Conservatives’ worst result ever.

“So while some claim it's a two-horse race. The truth is there’s space for a new challenger in this race.

“And I won’t be written off.

“When I first stood to become a councillor, I was told that as a Liberal Democrat and a newcomer I had no chance of unseating the Conservatives. I did.

“I then stood in the European Elections and defied the odds again, winning my seat to represent London as a Member of the European Parliament - because the Lib Dems topped the polls.  

“Now I want to represent the city that’s given me so much and harness the incredible potential London has shown over the past year, when we work together. 

“At this crucial moment, Londoners deserve a serious challenger to Sadiq Khan.

“Somebody who will call him out for his poor record, somebody who will demand better for our city. I have the energy and ideas to take London forward.

 “I’m ready to be that challenger.

“Under the right leadership, I believe we can put the pandemic behind us and finally build on the best of what our city has to offer. 

“We’ve had the divisive Mayor, the lazy Mayor and now the ineffective Mayor.

“We can do better.

“My plan to Take London Forward means:

 

  • Stronger local businesses and decent jobs
  • Everyone having an affordable place to call home
  • And air that’s clean to breathe  

 

“I have a clear eye on the future and a plan for it. Come with me, and together let’s take London forward.”

Introducing Luisa, Lib Dem Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said:

"Thank you very much indeed for coming along today. I’m delighted to be here this morning for the launch of our London election campaign. London Liberal Democrats have put small businesses and the economy at the heart of our campaign today, so it is right that we are here meeting in a pub, the Haverstock Tavern, here in Camden on a local high street.

"I have had the privilege of representing the Liberal Democrats and Londoners on the London Assembly since 2008. Never has London been at a more crucial moment. Covid-19, Brexit and climate change create a unique challenge for our city. Londoners are resilient and working together we can use this once in a generational opportunity to solve our housing crisis, and build a locally-led green economic recovery.

"But we can only do this with big ideas and urgent action at the heart of City Hall. 

"As a single Assembly Member at City Hall I have pushed the Mayor to do more to end the cladding and fire safety scandal, I’ve challenged the £2 billion polluting Silvertown Tunnel project, and I’ve fought for better financial support for small businesses and the hospitality, arts and culture sectors. 

"Working with our London Members of Parliament, Lords, Liberal Democrat councillors and Lib Dem-run councils in London, we have campaigned for greener and healthier public transport and for investment in local high streets. 

"And the polls show we are well on track for winning more Assembly Members in May and a strong Lib Dem team at City Hall will lead the campaigns there for jobs, homes and clean air. 

"Winning Assembly Members in London in May will be a springboard for doubling the number of Councillors we have the following year - because Liberal Democrats in local government across London make a real difference to people’s lives. It is our party’s strength, and where Luisa and I have both helped countless individuals and communities. 

"It’s also time for a new challenger to Sadiq Khan. I have worked closely with him for five years and he simply does not deliver. Whether it’s affordable homes or green transport, he shirks responsibility. He doesn’t really have that vision and that passion that’s needed - and he doesn’t know how to work with other parties, with Government and with councils.

"But I’ve also worked alongside Shaun Bailey. And he certainly is not the right person to represent Londoners. Out of touch with cheap tricks and crass comments, he and the Tories do not understand the diverse, open and European London that we all love. 

"I know Luisa well as a campaigner, a councillor, a former Member of the European Parliament for London. But I also know her as a Londoner, a friend and someone who represents the future of our city if we choose a future which is innovative and internationalist. A future which is green and affordable. And a future with the next generation of leadership to Take London Forward. 

"So it is my great pleasure to introduce to you this morning that new challenger - the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London - Luisa Porritt."


Share this post on social media: