Since the start of this campaign I’ve met award-winning British Asian businesses, I’ve celebrated Rath Yatra in Harrow, Janmashtami in Watford and Diwali in Kingston. At Wembley I’ve seen proud Brits give a rapturous welcome to an Indian Prime Minister.
The story of British Asians in the capital is, in many ways, the story of our capital. The business success, the fusion of cultures, the ties that bind us with the rest of the world: these all combine to make London the greatest city on earth.
The task now is to make London a great city for everyone to live in.
London has boomed under Boris. But while it may be a great place to start a business, it’s not a great place to start a family. Too many Londoners are being priced out of the life they want, unable to afford a home, commuting for longer to get to work.
I’m standing for mayor because I want to fix those problems.
Last week I set out my Action Plan for Greater London: more homes, better transport, cleaner air and safer streets.
As an MP, I’ve delivered on my promises. Just ask my constituents. At the last election they backed me with one of the biggest increased majorities in the country. If I’m mayor in May, I’ll bring the same dedication and commitment to City Hall.
I’ll start to fix our housing crisis, doubling house-building to 50,000 a year by the end of my term. For too long we’ve simply not been building enough houses to keep up with demand, so delivering on this is my number one priority. My plan includes building on publicly-owned land, using new transport links to unlock new sites for development, and making sure a significant proportion of homes are for rent and not for sale.
Next I’ll take action to get our city moving, boosting the capacity and reliability of our transport system. This is essential to drive up house-building, but it’s also about quality of life. Too many people in Greater London are spending more time commuting than with their families. So I’ll work with government to get the funding for Crossrail 2, I’ll deliver major rail upgrades, make the night tube happen, and I’ll protect the freedom pass that’s so important to older citizens.
A decent of quality of life also requires a healthy living environment. Levels of pollution in some parts of London are just not acceptable, so as mayor I’ll clean up our air with support for cycling and tough new rules on HGVs. I’ll also invest in London’s green space and I will absolutely defend our precious green belt.
The fourth part of my plan is about security. At a time of heightened threats, I want everyone in Greater London to feel safe. As mayor I’ll make sure our police have the tools and the budget they need. I’ll put more police on public transport at night. And I’ll tackle gang culture, investing in the great prevention work being done by grassroots organisations across our city.
I want to win so I can deliver that plan. But I’m not waiting till polling day. Since the start of this campaign I’ve been working round the clock to get things done for Greater London.
So far I’ve convinced the Government to protect the police budget, I’ve had the tube classified as an essential public service - meaning a strike only goes ahead if it has clear support among union members - and I’ve secured a deal to put suburban rail services under mayoral control, so we can bring an Overground level of service to South London.
I’ve been able to deliver because unlike my Labour rival, I’m ready and willing to work with this Government. In a system where the Chancellor controls 93 percent of London’s funding, the next mayor has to be able to make deals with David Cameron and George Osborne. It’s why there’s a real choice at this election.
The alternative is Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate Sadiq Khan. This is a man with no record of working with other parties, who in all the time I’ve been in Parliament has never voted against his own party. If he wins, we’d see the same chaos and infighting that’s engulfed the Labour Party played out in City Hall. It would mean four years of inaction. Housing getting even more unaffordable, major rail improvements put off, the night tube cancelled.
We can’t afford to waste the next four years. We need a mayor who can get things done. That’s the mayor I want to be, delivering for Greater London.