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Live chat with London Mayoral candidates Jenny Jones (Green), Siobhan Benita (Independent) and Lawrence Webb (UKIP), Tuesday 1st May, 12pm-1pm

(146 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 27-Apr-12 14:14:44

Following on from Ken and Boris's webchats you said you would like us to invite the remaining mayoral candidates (excluding the BNP) in for live webchats.

So far, the Independent candidate Siobhan Benita, Green party candidate Jenny Jones and UKIP candidate Lawrence Webb have accepted, we're very pleased to announce that they will be joining us at MNHQ on Tuesday 1 May, 12:00pm-1pm.

Siobhan joined the Civil Service in 1996 and worked at the very heart of Government for over 15 years. She lives with her husband and two daughters in New Malden, Kingston.

Jenny Jones is the Green Partys Mayoral candidate and has been a London Assembly Member since its start in 2000. Before entering politics, Jones worked as an archaeologist, studying carbonised plant remains, mostly in the Middle East.

Lawrence Webb, has lived and worked in London for most his life except for a brief stint spent working overseas. Before entering politics, Webb was a self-employed electrician. He was also in the Territorial Army for eight years.

Join us for the webchat and make your voice heard about what you want to see from the capital's next Mayor. Siobhan, Jenny and Lawrence are keen to hear your views and answer your questions. As ever, if you can't make it, please post up your advance questions here.

Thanks,

MNHQ

SiobhanBenita Tue 01-May-12 12:12:43

justonemorethread

I would love to vote for you, not live!

I'm enthusiastic, but not that much!

I like the typo a lot!

GeeGee33 Tue 01-May-12 12:13:40

As a pro-european, sorry Lawrence, what would Siobhan or Jenny do to increase ties with the European Union to ensure more development money comes into the capital?

LawrenceWebb Tue 01-May-12 12:15:06

TheStandard

A question for Jenny: according to Adam Ramsay, a Green activist, you come from the 'ecologist liberal' wing of the Greens (rather than the left-leaning Caroline Lucas wing). I take this to mean you're economically right-wing and more interested in conservation/ecology/animal rights than you are in economic redistribution and social justice. Would that be right?

A question for Lawrence: do you agree with your party leader that people who run small businesses shouldn't employ women of child-bearing age?

Thanks for that,

That comment wasn't made by Nigel, but by somebody else entirely. The point he was making was that small business has been burdened by regulations, and many of the regulations governing maternity and paternity leave make it very hard for small businesses to employ people. What suits a larger organisation which is able to employ people on a part time basis, or indeed to provide cover, isn't possible for many small business. What is well meaning in fact damages employment opportunities for 'women of child bearing age'.

MissAnneThrope Tue 01-May-12 12:15:17

Hello All

Boris was very charming and urbane with the ladeez an' all .. and of course he claimed to be a feminist. Howevs, I did note (see this article) that it's possible he doesn't fully walk the feminist walk (I'll leave you to ponder what that might look like).

So:

What plans do you have to ensure that women are fairly representated at the top of your putative administrations?

What plans do you have for Rape Crisis centre funding in London?

And...

How much new social housing will be built on your watch?

What do you think of the housing benefit cap and its impact on low-earning/unemployed families in London?

SiobhanBenita Tue 01-May-12 12:15:57

painterlyswoosh

What are your plans for education in the city? How do you think we can tackle the issue of the massive difference in quality of schools from borough to borough?

I'm the only candidate with an education manifesto - our system in London does have serious problems that need to be fixed. I would appoint an education commissioner to tackle three key areas: more primary school places, improving transition to secondary school, standards and skills in secondary schools. We do need to address the difference in quality across boroughs and the Mayor and ed commissioner can do a lot to share good practice and drive up standards.

MissAnneThrope Tue 01-May-12 12:15:58

Loving 'representated.

LawrenceWebb Tue 01-May-12 12:16:35

GeeGee33

As a pro-european, sorry Lawrence, what would Siobhan or Jenny do to increase ties with the European Union to ensure more development money comes into the capital?

That's OK GeeGee, the Mayor of London is essentially Britain's greatest lobbyist. Any mayor should use all means in their power to benefit London in all ways possible, pro-EU or not.

Katn Tue 01-May-12 12:16:35

My question is for all three candidates here. Do you support Free Schools? I've heard it said that they are a London-only solution but I reckon we need a London-only solution to a London problem. The state of secondary school education across the city is shocking - forcing so many to have to leave the city when they have children of school age. This is so important I am surprised that it's not at the forefront of every candidate's agenda and campaign.

slug Tue 01-May-12 12:16:57

For anyone..

What is your position about the high number of religious affiliated schools in the capital? Just about every survey in the last decade has shown a steady reduction in religious affiliation amongst the British population. Yet it is almost impossible in some areas for parents to choose non-religious affiliated schools for their children. In my area we have the absurd situation of one massively oversubscribed non-religious school and five religious schools with falling rolls as parents are shipping their children out of borough rather than send them to a school that brainwashes offers a religious based education.

As a mother to a girl, I am faced with the prospect of a) applying to the oversubscribed school with little hope of success, b) going private (which I can't afford and have a moral objection to) or c) sending her to a school that is proud of the ethos of treating women as second class.

Where is the choice for parents who don't want religious indoctrination?

GeeGee33 Tue 01-May-12 12:17:33

To all three candidates: As Boris has broken his "no strike agreement" promise and he's currently trying to wriggle out of that for his next term should he win. What will you do to ensure a good relationship with the trade unions which would ensure that public transport keeps running?

JennyJonesGreen Tue 01-May-12 12:18:28

Crumblemum

I'd like to ask a question to all the candidates. What specifically will you do to make secondary school pupils feel safe? They're most likely (I think) to be victims of crime, yet they're only ever portrayed as criminals. I think it's a big reason so many middle class families are happy with state primaries but get nervous about sending their kids to the local secondary - meaning lots of upheaval in kids' lives (away from friends and neighbourhood) and that we're a long way from getting the social mix lots of us want at secondaries.

Hi Crumblemum
In our manifesto, we make the point that young people are much maligned, often seen as perpetrators of crime, yet actually more likely to be victims, just as you say.
We have to do two things very quickly: First, regain trust in the police so that young people (and anyone) can talk to them without fear, give them information that can lead to catching criminals, whether gangs, organised crime or terrorists, and be confident that Londoners are getting the policing they want and need.
Second, we have to be braver about bringing the Glasgow project to London. It dealt with gangs by offering members a way out of their lives, through jobs, training, education, housing, but if they chose not to take advantage of the offers, the gang members were pursued for every minor and major crime they committed.
We should also try more restorative justice. It's very bad policy to lock up loads of young people in prison - not only do they come out unable to reintegrate easily with society, they are also better criminals, and it's cost everyone a huge amount of money. Paying back to society directly.
Have to go. JJ

SiobhanBenita Tue 01-May-12 12:18:55

piji

Hi Siobhan, I'm quite interested in voting for you - I read your bit in the election leaflet with interest - although to be honest I don't think you'll get elected, you'll probably get my first preference, largely because you were the ONLY one of the candidates who seems to have noticed that London have a massive great crisis with school places!

I gather you grew up in Wimbledon - we're currently having a big planning problem with local NIMBYs who are opposing school expansion (astonishingly, they simply deny that there is any lack of school places!) - what could you do to help parents in our area?

More info in this thread:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/local_merton/1228930-Merton-dumbing-down-Dundonald-Primary-School/AllOnOnePage

and here

saveourrecproblems.wordpress.com/

and here (for fairness) is the NIMBY website

www.protectdundonaldrec.org/

Thanks!

Hi - nice to hear from fellow Wimbledonian (although i now live in Kingston but did grow up and go to school there!) Please see my answer above on education and lots more details in manifesto. Totally agree though on the need to build more schools and that's a key part of my education strategy.

quartz101 Tue 01-May-12 12:19:23

Thanks for answering Jenny. What about the others?

Siobhan - who will get your second preference? I'm going to guess Ken...

Lawrence - who will get your second preference? I'm going to guess Boris...

mortlake64 Tue 01-May-12 12:20:18

(And a follow-up question. Should councils hold their elections on different days to each other, so national TV has no excuse but to cover them individually as local elections? After all, nobody can stop all the councillors resigning and triggering an election)

piji Tue 01-May-12 12:20:24

Although my question above was addressed to Siobhan, I'd also be interested in answers from any of the other candidates.

JennyJonesGreen Tue 01-May-12 12:22:01

GeeGee33

To all three candidates: As Boris has broken his "no strike agreement" promise and he's currently trying to wriggle out of that for his next term should he win. What will you do to ensure a good relationship with the trade unions which would ensure that public transport keeps running?

Hi GeeGee33
I'll take my lead from Tim O'Toole who ran the tube very successfully with very few strikes for many years. He says that constant dialogue is the only way to have good union relations, both to the unions themselves and to the staff, directly. He talked to everyone, explaining what he was doing, what was happening. The more informed the work force, the less stress at work and the fewer strikes.

SiobhanBenita Tue 01-May-12 12:23:43

Woodlands

I STILL haven't decided who to vote for (normally vote Lib Dem but don't feel inspired by Brian Paddick). I will probably give Boris my second preference (though I will have to hold my nose to vote Tory) but am open-minded about whether to vote for Brian or for Siobhan.

SO my question is for Siobhan - why should I vote for you? I still haven't totally figured out what you stand for, but I get the feeling that you stand for people like me.

You should vote for me because this is the one election where you get the opportunity to vote for an individual, not a political party. I honestly believe that an independent mayor will be best for London. I have put education and youth policies right at the heart of my campaign and would continue to push on these areas.

I also have a housing policy, unlike any of the others, that is aimed at families and young professionals on moderate wages, who still cannot get on the property ladder, as this is a group that often get overlooked. Details on my website.

We do need public leaders from different kinds of backgrounds - more women, more ethnic minorities, as they all bring valuable experience to shape better policy.

piji Tue 01-May-12 12:23:58

Siobhan, thanks for getting back to me.

You didn't really answer the question though: I've read your manifesto and it's all very well to be in favour of school-building and expansion in vague general terms, what would you do about the specific situation where local NIMBYs are opposing school expansion?

Crumblemum Tue 01-May-12 12:24:25

Umm Lawrence - thanks for trying to undo some of the damage done by your leader - but he did actually say that on a webchat http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12570547!

JennyJonesGreen Tue 01-May-12 12:25:01

Katn

My question is for all three candidates here. Do you support Free Schools? I've heard it said that they are a London-only solution but I reckon we need a London-only solution to a London problem. The state of secondary school education across the city is shocking - forcing so many to have to leave the city when they have children of school age. This is so important I am surprised that it's not at the forefront of every candidate's agenda and campaign.

Hello Katn
Sadly, the Mayor doesn't have many powers on education, except to find funding from elsewhere eg from the private sector, but I would turn his 10 academies into local authority controlled schools.
JJ

LawrenceWebb Tue 01-May-12 12:25:05

MissAnneThrope

Hello All

Boris was very charming and urbane with the ladeez an' all .. and of course he claimed to be a feminist. Howevs, I did note (see this article) that it's possible he doesn't fully walk the feminist walk (I'll leave you to ponder what that might look like).

So:

What plans do you have to ensure that women are fairly representated at the top of your putative administrations?

What plans do you have for Rape Crisis centre funding in London?

And...

How much new social housing will be built on your watch?

What do you think of the housing benefit cap and its impact on low-earning/unemployed families in London?

Dear Miss Thrope,
1) People should and will be appointed on their merit, and their ability to do the job, pure and simple.
2) Rape Crisis Centre funding, this is currently covered through charities, local government with top up funds from central government. Obviously as Mayor I will do all I can to maintain and enhance these funding streams.
3) Social housing. As I mentioned Blu earlier, the Mayor becomes London's biggest landlord in May, and as such the provision of social housing will come onto his/her watch. I would ensure of the 150,000 possible new build on this land, the greatest percentage will be set aside for social housing. Of course the term is only 4 years and once such a program is started it will take several years for them all to come on stream.
4) W support those working families who cannot afford to live in desirable areas. It is the case that there are those who are receiving more in housing benefits than most people on moderate salaries in London. That is just not fair.

SiobhanBenita Tue 01-May-12 12:25:39

quartz101

Thanks for answering Jenny. What about the others?

Siobhan - who will get your second preference? I'm going to guess Ken...

Lawrence - who will get your second preference? I'm going to guess Boris...

I am not casting a second preference, or telling anyone what to do with theirs! It's worth remembering though that in this system a new candidate like me needs first preference votes! People can give their traditional party vote as second preference if they wish to.

LawrenceWebb Tue 01-May-12 12:27:19

JennyJonesGreen

Katn

My question is for all three candidates here. Do you support Free Schools? I've heard it said that they are a London-only solution but I reckon we need a London-only solution to a London problem. The state of secondary school education across the city is shocking - forcing so many to have to leave the city when they have children of school age. This is so important I am surprised that it's not at the forefront of every candidate's agenda and campaign.

Hello Katn
Sadly, the Mayor doesn't have many powers on education, except to find funding from elsewhere eg from the private sector, but I would turn his 10 academies into local authority controlled schools.
JJ

Hi Katn,

I would agree with Jenny on her first point, that it is not the responsibility of the Mayor, but I believe that the Free Schools revolution can only improve the choice and quality of education, particularly for those currently ill served by failures in the current comprehensive system.

LawrenceWebb Tue 01-May-12 12:27:44

SiobhanBenita

quartz101

Thanks for answering Jenny. What about the others?

Siobhan - who will get your second preference? I'm going to guess Ken...

Lawrence - who will get your second preference? I'm going to guess Boris...

I am not casting a second preference, or telling anyone what to do with theirs! It's worth remembering though that in this system a new candidate like me needs first preference votes! People can give their traditional party vote as second preference if they wish to.

Quartz, You guess right

SiobhanBenita Tue 01-May-12 12:27:50

piji

Siobhan, thanks for getting back to me.

You didn't really answer the question though: I've read your manifesto and it's all very well to be in favour of school-building and expansion in vague general terms, what would you do about the specific situation where local NIMBYs are opposing school expansion?

Schools are needed in all boroughs and councils are saying this. I would work with councils and residents using the evidence of places required, to ensure that the necessary investment and planning decisions were made.

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