View from the house: Real leadership, not a weak mayor

Iain Duncan Smith wants a strong mayor for London.

Iain Duncan Smith wants a strong mayor for London. - Credit: PA

London is one of the greatest cities in the world. A leader in entertainment, the arts and financial services and the home of parliamentary democracy.

Yet it does not have a leader to match its standing. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has racked up £11.7bn of debt and heaped this cost on ordinary Londoners.

Sadiq pledged to build 264,000 new homes, yet built only 52,000 - despite a £4.8bn budget from the government.

He pledged to reduce crime, but homicides are the highest in 11 years, robbery is up 73 percent and knife crime is still an epidemic on our streets.

Even before coronavirus, TfL’s debt hit a record high of £11.7bn, up 30 per cent since Sadiq took over.

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The mayor received bailouts of £1.6bn in May and now demands a further £5.6bn.

It is easy to see where his budget goes – £151m on exit payments for senior executives, nearly £1m on business-class flights and £1.4bn on gold-plated pensions that are 50 per cent more generous than for NHS staff?.

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It is Londoners who will pay for this mismanagement.

Sadiq will expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) right up to the North Circular, a £12.50 daily charge enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He is also trying to increase council tax by 21.2 per cent.

This is not something the government have asked him to do: it is his decision and his alone.

London needs real leadership. A weak mayor at a good time is a problem. At a time when London needs direction, it is a disaster.

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