UKIP’s mayoral candidate for the 2016 elections will be selected in the coming days and weeks. Breitbart London has speculated on the runners and riders for the contest, and has contacted all the candidates to ask them why they’d be best for the position.
The first response is from Richard Hendron, a former policeman and now barrister. The answers follow:
BREITBART LONDON (BL): What makes you the best person to represent UKIP in London in 2016?
RICHARD HENDRON (RH): As a born and bred Londoner, someone who attended a state school near Heathrow, and someone who has policed right across the city, I have an exceptional knowledge of London, of its faults and its flaws, as well as its goodness and greatness. Policing the rich tapestry of London for nine years has given me an exceptional insight into the many issues and problems that are faced by Londoners. Put simply, the insight and experience that I have is unmatched by the other candidates.
UKIP has struggled in the big cities, especially London. It suffers from an immense image problem. For many in London, UKIP is not seen as the modern, forward thinking party which it is, but rather out of touch and xenophobic.
As the UKIP mayoral candidate I would provide a much needed, welcomed and refreshing change. I do not remotely fit into any of the UKIP stereotypes. I am independently minded with a strong moral compass and I am not afraid to stand up and be counted. As a moderniser candidate I would actively start to change the image of UKIP, dispelling the myths and where there is truth in those myths, tacking them head on to bring about real and lasting change in UKIP. In order for us as a party to move to the next level, we must have broader appeal. This means winning the trust and confidence of the various diverse communities of London, something we have failed at to date.
If UKIP is serious about moving to the next level it needs to select a candidate that not only will start to reform the image of UKIP, but a candidate that will have broad appeal to Londoners and not just to existing London UKIP members.
BL: If it were a straight choice would you rather be a London assembly member or UKIP’s mayoral candidate?
RH: UKIP’s mayoral candidate.
As the mayoral candidate will be in a stronger position where they can heavily influence UKIP within London and bring about the necessary change, as well as being at the forefront leading the debate on the referendum in London and securing an out vote. UKIP needs a Londoner who can relate to diverse Londoners and someone who won’t be tarnished with typical UKIP associations in order so they can positively lead the out campaign. The importance of selecting someone who has appeal to Londoners, who is energetic and motivating, is crucial if we are going to convince London to vote out in the referendum,
BL: Uber – Are you for it or against it?
RH: For it. Private hire vehicles are properly regulated and controlled by Transport for London. Consequently they are as safe as a London taxi. The technology means they are as reliable as a London Cab. Uber in my view embraces the spirit and dynamism of London, through its approach and the cutting edge technology that it uses. It provides Londoners with more choice and provides a welcomed and well-regulated competition, which can only be a good thing for the consumer. London Taxis have a unique selling point, and will always be in demand. They must however take a leaf out of Uber’s book and start to embrace technology. If they do this then black taxis need not lose out to Uber.
BL: Tube Strikes and Union Drivers. What’s the solution?
RH: Tube drivers already enjoy a salary package that not only is disproportionate when compared to other public sector workers, but is also the envy of many workers from both the public and private sector. Tube workers have achieved their extortionate salary package by over the years holding London hostage, at great cost to London and great inconvenience to Londoners. Simply this cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot allow already overpaid tube drivers to bring this city to a standstill often simply on the basis of greed. We must recognise the sheer importance of the underground to London: the police are banned from striking so too must tube workers be prohibited.
BL: How do you feel Boris has done as Mayor? What would you keep and what would you change?
RH: Credit where credit is due, Boris has managed to achieve some notable things. The often-named “Boris Bikes”, will be his legacy that will live on. The reduction of the congestion zone back to its original size was another boost, not just for the motorist, who are often heavily targeted in London, but also a great boost for small business that were removed from the charging zone.
It can’t be ignored though that Boris has presided over a housing crisis, both in affordability and supply. Not enough houses have been built to keep up with demand, which has led to rocketing house prices as well as rocketing rental prices. Research recently out suggested that typically, Londoners spend a mouth watering 59 per cent of their income on rent. For young people today, unlike their parents and previous generations, the dream of home ownership will simply remain a dream.
We need more houses; more affordable housing and a mechanism for controlling house prices to ensure that Londoners can afford housing locally. Having covenants on some new builds stipulating that the owner/occupier must work within a certain distance or in certain professions is one way to control houses prices and make them more affordable for local people and key workers. These types of covenants are common on some rural farming properties in order to prevent often Londoners from snapping up second homes and out pricing locals. There is no reason why this can’t be done in London.
BL: What are the best things about London in your estimation?
RH: Its rich tapestry, its openness, its inclusivity and its acceptance. In London, you can be who you are whatever and whoever that is.
BL: What are the worst things about London in your estimation?
RH: The poverty that many in London struggle in; the extortionate cost of living; driving anywhere.
BL: There is some criticism of you in the party that you are more an LGBT activist than a UKIP activist. Do you accept this or not?
RH: I am a libertarian, UKIP is a libertarian Party, that means UKIP and I believe in respecting others and valuing difference. I unashamedly will stand up in defence of these values, that’s why I am involved in politics. Once you compromise on your values you will compromise on everything.
Yes it is correct that I have championed and pushed LGBT issues more than anyone else within UKIP, standing up to the party on a number of occasions, but this has been to the benefit of both UKIP and the LGBT community.
There is a disconnect between what our values are and what people perceive them to be. I again reiterate that we must address this perception. That means doing more to support and build the trust and confidence of the diverse communities of London, including LGBT. We have nothing to lose by doing this but everything to lose if we don’t.
BL: Tell us about your history in the police force.
RH: I joined the police at 19 straight from school, and was quickly promoted to sergeant after just over two years’ service. I then went on to become an inspector. I spent the majority of my time in uniformed policing, which means dealing with emergency calls. I have worked right across London, including, Southall, Ealing, Harlesden, Westminster, King’s Cross, Kensington & Chelsea and Tower Hamlets. I served in the police for exactly nine years before leaving to train as a barrister.
BL: You recently criticised party leader Nigel Farage for raising the HIV migrants point during the general Election. Can you explain your objections to the point for our readers?
RH: People who suffer from HIV already suffer from unimaginable stigma. Nigel choosing HIV as an example of health tourism could have only made this stigma worse, and no thought was given to the wider implications. There are many other conditions that don’t suffer the stigma that HIV does and would have been good examples without increasing the stigma for those suffers and further ostracising UKIP from HIV suffers and the gay community. The gay community were already apprehensive of UKIP, and these comments were seen as an attack on the gay community which only further reduced the trust and confidence that the gay community has in UKIP.
You can find out more about Richard Hendron at www.hendron4mayor2016.com