Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith: ‘I can deliver, look at my record’
PUBLISHED: 11:37 19 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:37 19 February 2016
Conservative London Mayor hopeful Zac Goldsmith has said housing “will define the next mayoralty” and has pledged to build 50,000 homes a year in the capital.
Zac Goldsmith was born in 1975, the son of billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith and his third wife, Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart.
He was brought up in Ham, south-west London, with brother Ben and sister Jemima, whose exes include Hugh Grant, Russell Brand and Imran Khan.
Mr Goldsmith went to Eton and then worked as editor of the magazine The Ecologist from 1998 to 2007, after being appointed by his uncle Edward Goldsmith.
He was announced as a future Tory candidate in 2005 before standing for the Conservatives for the seat of Richmond Park and North Kingston in 2010.
He beat incumbent Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer and extended his majority by 19,000 in 2015.
He was nominated as Tory candidate for the London mayoral election in October with a landslide, winning 70 per cent of the votes in the online primary.
Mr Goldsmith has four children as the result of two marriages, three with his first wife Sheherazade Ventura-Bentley and one with his current partner Alice Rothschild.
He lives with his family in Barnes, south-west London, in his constituency.
The MP for Richmond Park, in south-west London, called this his “top priority” and said he wants to “grow the transport network to enable us to solve the house crisis”.
The 41-year-old son of billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith is the main rival to Labour’s Sadiq Khan in May’s election.
He told the Recorder: “I want to protect and build on what Boris has done, I think he has been a really successful Mayor, but that has come at a cost.
“People are being priced out of their own city. You could be on an average wage and you would struggle to buy your own home.”
Zac on ...
Transport: “It is vital we grow the transport network. Crossrail is a great example, without it we won’t get all the homes built.”
Crime: “This has become more of an issue, we have seen a significant increase in most forms of crime. The number one job of the Mayor is to keep the city safe.”
Sadiq Khan: “We would have gridlock between the Greater London Assembly and City Hall, with City Hall used as a kind of laboratory by this new new Labour, or whatever they are called.”
Estate regeneration: “I would increase the number of homes in the estate, with more starter homes and low rises. I would not do it if the residents do not agree. They would be guaranteed a home at the same rate they were paying before.”
The outer boroughs: “I’m an outer borough MP and I know residents look to the Mayor for transport plans. I will grow the transport system to support these residents.”
Mr Goldsmith believes supply is key and has promised to build 50,000 homes a year while in office.
“Capital is not the issue, look at the investment waiting to go into local authorities. The political obstacle is the land and I would work with Transport for London to unlock brownfield sites and lobby the government to release that.”
He promised any homes built on mayoral land will only be sold to Londoners – people who have lived or worked in the capital for three years and do not own a home.
He assured voters there would be affordable options “due to increasing supply, with shared ownership, help-to-buy and starter homes”.
The Tory candidate, a keen environmentalist who grew up idolising David Attenborough, pledged to protect Redbridge’s green belt.
He has said he would resign his seat and trigger a by-election if Heathrow built a third runway.
“The environment is now a deep concern for people, not just protecting our green spaces, but improving air quality as pollution claims millions of lives.”
Much has been made of the £200million fortune Mr Goldsmith inherited, but he disagreed that Mr Khan, the son of a London bus driver, would be more relatable and electable for Ilford’s residents.
“How would this be one of the most diverse cities on earth if you just elect a candidate who looks like you, you aren’t going to do that. I don’t think people make huge decisions like that, the same way they don’t make them based on politicians’ promises.”
After leaving the Recorder’s office, Mr Goldsmith visited the Ilford Salvation Army’s night shelter, Clements Road, Ilford.
John Clifton, who runs the centre, said: “Zac sees the need for a strong, pan-London approach to homelessness after hearing the story of one of the shelter guests.”
Mr Goldsmith believes the choice for voters is a simple one: “Apart from a few differences, we’re both promising fairly similar things, the question is who can deliver.
“If you look at my record, I’ve made promises and kept them.”
See next week’s paper for a full interview with Mr Goldsmith’s Labour rival Mr Khan.
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