Local Elections (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 19, 2010
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

The reason I asked the question is that we have seen a dramatic change in the municipal make up of London. We now have 17 councils that are Labour controlled, giving Labour the majority of councils in London. Until the election you were the leading Conservative in London. Do you take any responsibility for the fact that voters seem to have rejected Conservative administration across huge swathes of London?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Local Elections (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Local Elections (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Obviously it is the vice of politicians to think that they are responsible for everything. In some infantile way we believe that we control the world and everything happens because we want it to happen. I am afraid, if I was to follow that line of thought, I would have to take credit for the Conservative gains in parliamentary seats. I think we gained seven seats or something there.

The truth is that there are all sorts of factors at play in the London elections and, as far as we can tell from our survey, there is a great deal of support for the policies that we are pursuing.

Joanne McCartney (AM): You have often said to David Cameron, 'Look what we are doing in London, and learn', in effect. Well it appears to me that Conservative policies have been rejected across huge swathes of London. Do you think that is still good advice to him?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do think that what we are doing is the right thing to do. I think that if you look at what the incoming Government is having to cope with there can be no doubt that it is very difficult clearing up after a Labour mess, but there are plenty of lessons to learn.

Joanne McCartney (AM): Obviously the make up of London Councils has changed and there will now be a very strong lobby group defending the interests of London against expected cuts from the new coalition government. Are you envisaging doing your utmost to work with that Labour led London Councils to protect London from disadvantage?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Of course.

Joanne McCartney (AM): On the election campaign itself I did not actually see you out and about much. Did the Conservative high command use you to your best advantage do you think?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Hang on, Joanne. You have got to get your argument straight. You are either saying I was a great deterrent to the Conservative vote in London or you are saying that somehow I was not deployed enough! Which is it? Come on.

Joanne McCartney (AM): They did not seem to let you out very often. In fact the only time I really saw you on the television was when you upstaged David Cameron about his volunteering commitments. I was just wondering whether that was a deliberate act?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I find it very, very difficult to try to respond to these Labour attacks, Chair, because I get beaten up for trying to open a very, very important new addition to London's transport infrastructure on time and on budget, and then I get accused of not going out in the election enough and not appearing on television! It is very, very hard to know how to cope with this sort of inconsistency. All I can say is that colleagues and friends would say that they probably saw me on the streets about as much as was reasonable, given that there is a big job to do here and there is a lot of work to be done.

Brian Coleman (AM): Mr Mayor, would you take note, in fact, that the seven Conservative Members of this Assembly who offered themselves to local electorates for re-election were overwhelmingly re-elected in their boroughs, and no doubt the fact that we were working with you helped us all on this side in our re-election attempts? Would you also congratulate the people of London for ensuring there are no British National Party councillors left on councils in London?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I would.

Richard Tracey (AM): Mr Mayor, in answer to this question you mentioned the annual London survey. Did you notice that one of the facts in it is that most Londoners, or certainly the highest percentage, talking about transport, are worried about the roads --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Roadworks. I did.

Richard Tracey (AM): -- and road improvements. I take that to mean patching up potholes and so on. Now when you meet these new powerful Labour councils that we have just heard about and the London Councils group, can you tell them to follow the example of Wandsworth and undergo a systematic patching of potholes, which has been very successful in Wandsworth? Clearly there are large areas of London where there are a hell of a lot of potholes still existing and they need to be filled in.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You are quite right, Dick, and I am sure that your words will strike like thunderbolts in Labour councils; they should certainly follow the example of Wandsworth.

Richard Tracey (AM): Thank you.