People’s Question Time: Conservative accused of ‘electioneering’

A Conservative London Assembly member was accused of “blatant electioneering” at last night’s People’s Question Time, with the Chair of the meeting calling it a “disgrace”.

The virtual meeting allowed Londoners to put their questions to London Mayor Sadiq Khan and hear from London Assembly members on issues including transport, policing, air quality and housing.

But towards the end of the meeting Chair of the London Assembly Navin Shah told Conservative Assembly member Tony Devenish that he should feel “ashamed” for remarks he made regarding the upcoming election after a question about London’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Assembly Member Devenish said: “Sadiq Khan is our third mayor. When we’ve had a crisis under Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson, they were visible. Even Labour’s Gary Neville has said the mayor has been missing for 12 months.

“He’s not turned up for four plenary sessions, two on the economy and two on Covid. The only thing he does well is ask the taxpayer, not the Government, for more money. On May 6, it is time for change. Vote Shaun Bailey.”

Navin Shah, himself a Labour Assembly member, said, “I hope Assembly Member Devenish is truly ashamed about what he has just done” and reminded members and the mayor that “this is not a platform for blatant electioneering”.

One of the key themes to emerge over the course of the meeting was a perceived lack of financial support for London from central Government, with Sadiq Khan saying he had spent much of his time in office “with one arm tied behind my back”.

But Shaun Bailey, Conservative Assembly member and mayoral candidate, said that the mayor should “take more responsibility” and “stop passing the buck to other parties”.

In addition to questions from the public, Sadiq Khan was also challenged by Assembly members on issues including housing and air quality.

At one point, Liberal Democrat Assembly member Caroline Pigeon challenged the mayor on “the elephant in the room”, the controversial Silvertown Tunnel.

Ms Pidgeon said: “The elephant in the room here is the Silvertown Tunnel. The mayor is pushing ahead with this which is going to cost £2 billion over the life of this project, building a motorway under the Thames.

“When you see the report out today from the British Lung Foundation, if you see the coroner’s report last year into the case of a child who died on the South Circular naming air quality as the cause, we absolutely need to be tackling that.”

The full recording of People’s Question Time can be viewed online.

Hillingdon Times | News