London elections 2021: Your candidates questioned

By Tim Donovan & Susana Mendonca & Sam FrancisBBC London image copyrightPA Media A record-breaking

By Tim Donovan & Susana Mendonca & Sam Francis
BBC London

image copyrightPA Media

A record-breaking 20 candidates are running to become the next mayor of London.

More than six million people are registered to vote in the capital on 6 May.

We asked each candidate why they think they should get your vote, and quizzed them on their priorities.

Here is what they had to say.

Shaun Bailey, Conservatives

image copyrightPA Media

London needs a fresh start. Sadiq Khan has failed to deliver.

Under Sadiq Khan, we’ve seen record levels of crime. We’ve seen council tax bills hiked. And of course, we’ve seen no delivery on housing.

I have a plan to give London a fresh start to move in the right direction.

I’ll get 8,000 extra police officers on the streets, 4,000 youth workers to help our young people. I’ll build 100,000 homes for £100,000 using shared ownership. Each one of those homes will produce 2.4 jobs.

The biggest problem in London is undoubtedly the crime epidemic.

Even Sadiq Khan himself said the streets of London are no longer safe for women and girls. That’s just not acceptable.

That’s why I will reopen 38 police stations that Sadiq Khan has closed

I spend much of my time bridging the gap between communities and police and I will do that across all of London.

And I have a plan to generate 924,000 jobs over a five-year period.

Watch an extended interview with Shaun Bailey here.

Kam Balayev, Renew

image copyrightRenew

Londoners are sitting on a goldmine. I want to unlock this cash from my platform, which is the new economy.

We are being robbed on a daily basis. By the time Londoners are done reading this interview, they will have generated enough data for Big Tech to turn into cash.

I simply want to reverse this. I want to take some of the profits from Big Tech, that they generate from us, and invest back in us through a pay rise and affordable homes for Londoners.

I think we need to rethink our conversation and our relationship with Big Tech.

Of course, we have to work together with 10 Downing Street and other stakeholders. Alone it’s not achievable.

Watch an extended interview with Kam Balayev here.

Sian Berry, Green Party

image copyrightEPA

Londoners are crying out for a new start after the year we’ve had – and the existing problems we had even before coronavirus.

They want to see a real green recovery. One that invests in people, in a secure future, and they’re ready to vote for it.

The Greens are ready to roll up our sleeves, like Green mayors all over London, and build up that green economy.

The housing crisis has been hugely worsened by the coronavirus crisis. We now have renters all over London in arrears.

We have a massive shortage of social housing and we’re knocking down perfectly good council homes and not replacing them for years.

It has to stop. We need a mayor of London who is willing to get involved.

London’s current mayor is leaving a lot of gaps in Green policies. A £50m green recovery is a drop in the ocean.

Watch an extended interview with Sian Berry here.

Count Binface, Count Binface for Mayor of London

image copyrightCount Binface

Like many Londoners, I looked at the list of candidates in 2021 and I thought “this is looking like a rubbish election”.

And you know, rubbish is kind of my thing. So I thought, ‘why not throw my bin into the ring?’.

My plan is to put London on the map.

London’s pigeons also need sorting out. They’ve been getting away with too much for too long.

But I suppose my biggest platform is about improving London’s transport, improving London’s cleanliness and making sure once this whole Covid nastiness is out of the way we can “build back better”. That slogan is mine!

One of my key platforms is to finish Crossrail. People are saying I’m mad to even attempt it but that railway needs to be built, no matter what.

Watch an extended interview with Count Binface here.

Valerie Brown, Burning Pink

image copyrightPA Media

We need to change the system of government and put the power in the hands of the people. That is done through citizens’ assemblies.

This election for me is a really important one because we need systemic change.

And if I win, it is a step in the right direction. A bold step to begin the transition from the power in the hands of politicians to power in the hands of the people.

Inequality and the fact that people’s voices are not heard are the biggest problems Londoners face. The majority of Londoners are actually quite poor people. People who are struggling and suffering.

For London to be a truly democratic city, everybody’s voice has to be heard.

I want people to tell me what’s important to them and how best to get around the city.

Watch an extended interview with Valerie Brown here.

Piers Corbyn, Let London Live

image copyrightPA Media

Let London Live are the different party, which Londoners need to break out of the current crisis of doom and have a real prosperous way forward.

The biggest threat facing Londoners is the continuation of lockdown in various forms. Covid restrictions and tracking and tracing are an infringement on freedoms.

On day one, I would end all these Covid restriction measures. I would tell the police not to implement them, but to concentrate on civil policing and knife crime.

And to allay the fear of people who are still going to be worried about such things, we are going to spend whatever is needed to prevent people with a serious illness from getting more ill.

Currently, loads of people with cancer and diabetes are excluded from the NHS because of the Covid restrictions. No-one should be left behind.

Watch an extended interview with Piers Corbyn here.

Max Fosh, Independent

image copyrightMatt Crockett

I am running to beat Laurence Fox.

I don’t think I would be a good mayor at all. I don’t think I have the expertise or the political knowledge to become London mayor.

But I am running nonetheless, to beat the aforementioned Laurence Fox.

I also want to increase the voter turnout from the younger demographic between 18-25. In the UK, we are lagging behind in terms of young people voting in comparison to our neighbours on the continent.

If I was elected London mayor, which I know I’m not going to, I would listen to all of the scientists and people from industry to try and get us the best solution to get us out of Covid-19.

I understand that I have absolutely no chance of winning.

Watch an extended interview with Max Fosh here.

Laurence Fox, Reclaim Party

image copyrightPA Media

A year ago we locked down London for three weeks.

We gave our liberty to the government for three weeks to flatten the curve. Instead of giving us our freedom back, the government is considering even more authoritarian measures.

We need to get London open and moving. Bring back tourists to this great city and bring people back to work.

The biggest problem facing Londoners is lack of optimism, lack of hope. They’ve been frightened to death, essentially.

We need to give people hope and optimism to get back out there. Get back working and get a small business up and running.

You need to give people an incentive to get back on the Tubes, trains and buses and get back to work and play.

We can slowly get back to normal. Give people permission to enjoy their life again.

It’s time to get London back to work with some free transport and get the small business open, and pubs, bars and restaurants, and get people to enjoy their lives again. This is the greatest city on earth.

Watch an extended interview with Laurence Fox here.

Peter Gammons, UKIP

image copyrightPeter Gammons/UKIP

I want to restore sanity to London.

I’m tired of sitting in traffic because of bicycle lanes. People are tired of their roads being closed down.

People are tired of decisions being made without them being consulted.

I believe London needs a mayor that will represent them, not force things on them.

There are a number of problems. There’s a lack of affordable housing. I have strategies to build 100,000 homes for around £150,000.

We need to restore community policing – police on the beat to rebuild trust.

During the lockdown rallies, we’ve seen these violent scenes with police with riot shields.

Transport for London is not run efficiently. The whole thing needs to be re-evaluated.

Watch an extended interview with Peter Gammons here.

Richard Hewison, Rejoin EU

image copyrightBen Barnett.

There is literally no-one else that represents my views standing for mayor of London.

Obviously, I’m in favour of rejoining the EU – hence the name of the party I’m running for.

What truly shocks me in this election is there’s no candidate who is even acknowledging the problems that Brexit is bringing.

Brexit is a disaster for London. The amount of people who have left London, the amount of jobs that have left London and the amount of capital that has left London – it’s a disaster of an unprecedented scale.

Whatever your views are on Brexit, something has to be done to address it.

The biggest issues facing Londoners are the twin problems of recovering from Covid, coming out of lockdown and at the same time adjusting to the new economic realities, which for many Londoners means they are radically changing the relationship they had with suppliers, customers, people and family as a result of the changes in Brexit.

Whoever becomes mayor has a massive challenge on their hands.

Watch an extended interview with Richard Hewison here.

Vanessa Hudson, Animal Welfare Party

image copyrightGetty Images

I’m standing for election because, regrettably, I believe the running of London has been approached from a speciesist perspective.

That is to say, we have promoted the needs of humans and we haven’t looked at the needs of animals and the environment.

I believe, as we emerge from a pandemic, that approach no longer serves us.

It is that very approach that has led us to the triple crisis we now face: the crisis of health, the crisis of biodiversity and the crisis of climate.

So, as we emerge from this pandemic, we have the opportunity to forge a new way forward.

I believe that London can lead the world in a new direction, acting as a beacon of innovation and of healthy, sustainable, compassionate living.

Obviously, the pandemic is the issue at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But the problem is that unless we change our relationship with nature, animals and the environment there could be more pandemics in the future for us to battle.

Watch an extended interview with Vanessa Hudson here.

Sadiq Khan, Labour

image copyrightReuters

If I’m re-elected I think it’s possible for us to have a better city after the pandemic than before – with a brighter future for London.

The mantra is going to be jobs, jobs, jobs. A green new deal, with a green skills academy, creating jobs for our young people.

We need to make sure we don’t let the combination of the pandemic and Brexit lead to the sort of situation we had in the 1980s – with mass unemployment and a generation written off.

That’s why we’re going to build on the progress made in the first term with genuinely affordable homes, with making sure we’re investing in young Londoners, as well as investing in the police. I’ll continue to build record numbers of council homes and genuinely affordable homes, and continue to clean up the air in London.

So as we began to progress on all those things, the key challenge is going to be in the next term making sure we avoid a massive recession.

Watch an extended interview with Sadiq Khan here.

Steve Kelleher, Social Democratic Party

image copyrightSocial Democratic Party

My vision for London is to see grandparents, parents and adult children once again within walking distance of one another.

I’m going to do that by building 50,000 council houses per year by 2024.

More importantly, I will prioritise people born and bred in the borough to receive those council houses.

That will be fantastic for building community and will aid my second big policy, which is to back our police.

I want 10,000 neighbourhood police back on the beat, giving commanders the opportunity to deal with issues without politicians getting involved.

I will give free travel for everybody in the three years running up to their 25th birthday.

I want to support the youth of London that have given up so much during this pandemic. I want to see them out, getting jobs and building businesses – and getting London buzzing.

Watch an extended interview with Steve Kelleher here.

David Kurten, Heritage Party

image copyrightGetty Images

My main principles resonate with Londoners, which are to make London safe again, get London moving again and open London.

The mayor has a very strong voice in the whole political scene in the country.

I think the mayor of London needs to call for an end to lockdown and an opening up of businesses, shops, theatres and music venues without restrictions.

That’s what we need. To get London thriving and booming again.

London just needs to have the shackles taken off. Londoners are innovative. They’re entrepreneurial. Londoners have got great energy.

The mayor is in charge of the Met Police. What I want to do is get the police to focus on catching real criminals rather than spending a lot of time going round to people’s houses and giving out fines for having a coffee morning or going to churches.

That’s not what the police should be doing.

Watch an extended interview with David Kurten here.

Farah London, Independent

image copyrightFarah London

London should always have an independent voice.

As we have seen from successive mayors, when you have a political party and a representative mayor, unfortunately, they represent the political agenda and not the people of London.

As we can see right now, the political parties of the mayor and the government, all they do is argue with each other and nothing gets done.

I’m standing to be the independent voice for the people of London.

We have lost our pride in London. London is so disconnected. Communities are divided.

People don’t know what it is to be a Londoner any more, and crime has spiralled out of control.

So we need a mayor that has leadership, that will actually run things for the people, and actually put [forward] policies that better London.

My manifesto has been written at the grassroots by the people. I’m not dictating.

Watch an extended interview with Farah London here.

Nims Obunge, Independent

image copyrightGetty Images

I’m really keen to ensure we reduce knife crime, violent crime against young children.

I want to ensure we can support the most vulnerable families in our city.

London is an amazing city, we have such diversity. I want to celebrate the greatness that’s in our city.

There is violent crime in our city and there is poverty in our city. We need to address those two key things.

We’ve got to deal with the poverty of opportunity and poverty of aspiration.

We have to look at what is happening in many communities where we are losing young lives – not just losing lives to knife crime, but also losing them to the prison system.

The police budget is the highest we have ever had in the memory of our city, and yet crime keeps on going up.

It’s not about pouring more money into policing, it’s also about trying to make sure we invest in our communities.

Watch an extended interview with Nims Obunge here.

Niko Omilana, Independent

Should I be London mayor? What a stupid question – of course, I should.

The system is broken for young people and I am the only man who can fix it.

We are not taken seriously and it makes me sick.

I have more knowledge, strength and integrity than any other candidate.

The people who run this country are unserious, and that comes from someone wearing children’s glasses.

But I am taking action now. I have a message to our prime minister on behalf of every young person in our nation: “Boris Johnson, shush.”

The biggest threat to our country is our prime minister.

If a man who cannot even comb his hair properly is running our nation, then we truly have no hope.

London under me will have equal opportunity.

Watch an extended interview with Niko Omilana here.

Luisa Porritt, Liberal Democrats

image copyrightLiberal Democrats

I’ve got a plan to take London forward that embraces the changes that are under way in the capital; changes that have sped up as a result of the pandemic – things like the shift to online shopping and more home working.

I’ve got a plan to make sure we’re embracing that change and that we’re seizing the opportunities for our capital as part of that.

I think we’ve got a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finally fix our housing crisis – converting some of the empty office space coming on to the market into quality affordable homes.

I think we’ve got an opportunity to reinvent our high streets, with more people spending time in their local area and money there. We can make sure they’re fit for the future and providing the services that local communities need.

There’s a job crisis. London has been hit harder than any other part of the country by unemployment as a result of the pandemic.

That’s why I’ve put jobs at the heart of my plan to take London forward.

Watch an extended interview with Luisa Porritt here.

Mandu Reid, Women’s Equality Party

image copyrightGeorge Torode

London has never had a female mayor and it shows.

I want London to be a city where everyone can take freedom and safety for granted – men and women.

I want London to be a city where everyone can thrive and fulfil their potential.

Now we’re at a crossroads in London with the aftermath of Covid and we have to meet the moment.

We’ve got to address two really, really big things.

The issue of violence against women and girls, which has been in greater visibility over the last few weeks.

As well as recovering from Covid and dealing with the fact that the impact of the pandemic has not fallen evenly, women are disproportionately affected.

Watch an extended interview with Mandu Reid here.

Brian Rose, London Real Party

image copyrightBrian Rose

Londoners care about four things: crime, jobs, transport and housing.

With my 30 years of business experience, I plan to rebuild London’s economy by abolishing the congestion charge until 2022 and dropping business rates to zero.

Next, I want to put 10,000 new police officers on the street.

I want to raise £100m from corporations to go directly to our community centres.

I’m going to build 50,000 new affordable homes by Christmas this year. And I’m going to run TfL at a profit by introducing an infrastructure levy.

London was founded on the economy, but yet we don’t have a businessperson at the helm.

I’ve worked in aerospace, automotive, on Wall Street and the City of London. I know how to be proactive about getting London back to work.

We’ve got to invest in the economy, and I’ve got big plans.

Watch an extended interview with Brian Rose here.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.