As we near the end of February, not only has Sadiq Khan faced a fortnight of intense criticism but Covid-19 (coronavirus), has begun to enter the conversation.
As part of an election promise to make London carbon neutral by 2030, Sadiq Khan recently unveiled his plan to spend £50 million pounds on a Green New Deal, the funding for which will come from raised council tax and business rates. This was met by criticism by Green Party candidate, Sian Berry, who said that ‘billions and billions’ are needed in order to achieve this goal.
Khan received more criticism from independent candidate Rory Stewart, who has accused him of failing to meet his affordable homes target. On Monday, Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey heaped on further heat, as Khan announced a new travel perk for family members of Transport for London staff. The former advisor to David Cameron, accused the incumbent of:
‘not using every power you have, every penny you have to address crime in London’.
Independent candidate and former UKIP member David Kurten agreed, adding that the Green New Deal was:
‘some programme that doesn’t seem to have much detail attached to it’.
Bailey’s comments come as he announces plans to reopen 38 police stations in the capital should he become mayor. Yet Bailey’s focus hasn’t just been on crime in recent weeks. The Covid-19 (coronavirus) epidemic has slipped into his comments too. He has suggested that London could host the 2020 Olympics instead of Tokyo if the epidemic continues to worsen.
Apropos to this, was a suggestion by former Conservative leadership challenger, and independent candidate, Rory Stewart that, should the number of cases in the capital rise, a ‘gold command’ should be set up, and limitations placed on public transport.
Since our last article, Liberal Democrat candidate Siobhan Benita has launched her campaign and literally got the wheels rolling on new policies. She announced this week that the Lib Dems would legalise the use of e-scooters on London’s roads to reduce congestion. Currently it is illegal to use them on roads or pavements.
As the mayoral campaigns unfold, Drillminister has also attracted more attention. Recently, he’s appeared on This Morning with Eammonn Holmes discussing his love of the Queen for the role she played in allowing the Windrush Generation to enter the country. So far neither he, nor Benita, Berry or Kurten have commented on Covid-19.
At the time of writing, we’re still a few weeks away from the release of each candidate’s manifestos. More pertinently, what I and an increasing number of Londoners want to know, is what are their plans to deal with the threat of Covid-19 in 2020?