MAYORAL ELECTION: the Repsect and Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol candidates on housing, knife crime and transport

News Desk (04 May, 2016)

Ahead of the Mayoral election on May 5, the News interviews the Respect and Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol party candidates: George Galloway and Lee Harris

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As well as voting for London Assembly members on Thursday, voters will also choose the next Mayor of London.

With Conservative incumbent Boris Johnson vacating the position after eight years, twelve candidates from a variety of parties are up for the role.

This will be the third mayor to run City Hall since the position was created in 2000, with Labour’s Ken Livingstone being the first.

Voters will be given a pink ballot paper on May 5 with the option of selecting two of their preferred candidates.

Different to General Elections, the London Mayor election uses a proportional representation voting system called the supplementary vote.

This involves putting an X in column A for your first choice and an X in column B for your second. This does not reduce the chances of your first choice being successful but rather ensures all votes matter as they are counted.

The News has interviewed or profiled all the candidates for Mayor to help readers choose their favourite candidates.

Interviews by Alex Yeates…

George Galloway – RESPECT PARTY

George Galloway is the leader of the Respect Party and former Member of Parliament for Bradford West. He was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1954.

  • On Housing

The mayor has limited powers but they have to be used ruthlessly. Two things that I can do and I will is require private developers to provide affordable housing and make 50% of housing affordable.

I will also crackdown on the massive amount of housing that is not lived in and which is just used as safety deposit boxes.

  • On the Elephant roundabout

It is a monstrosity. It is not an elephant it is something so grotesque that only TfL could have given birth to it. If I’m elected mayor I’m going to abolish TfL as it is unfit for purpose and replace it with a fit for purpose authority of a very different make-up and Elephant and Castle is one of the things that I will bring up.

  • Other policies

When it comes to knife crime I want to bring up the crisis of fatherless children being involved in crime and help them.

I also want to make big changes to the police. They have to start looking like London and they have to stop looking and feeling like an occupation force.

I was in a gang when I was younger only because there was nothing else to do other than go to the street corner. Youth services is often the first thing to be cut and it should be the last.

Lee Harris  – CANNABIS IS?SAFER THAN ALCOHOL

Lee Harris, 79, is the Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol party candidate for London Mayor. Lee is a cannabis pioneer and is the editor of Homegrown, Europe’s first cannabis magazine.

Lee was unavailable for interview but sent the News a quote about why Londoners should vote for him on May 5.

He said: “As Londoners turn to the polls next Thursday I ask them to picture a city where ordinary people aren’t criminalised for cannabis.

“Cannabis prohibition is clearly not working and divides London’s communities, wastes the resources of the police, and criminalise the young in particular.

“Ending prohibition and introducing sensible regulation will help to heal our city.

“We can take money out of the pockets of criminal gangs and instead raise tax on cannabis to invest in London’s infrastructure, the NHS, housing, and public health.

“The world’s attitude to cannabis is changing while London is being left behind. A vote for me is a vote for a progressive, pro-cannabis London.”

Lee’s party centres around opposition to the War on Drugs and believes that prohibition is always doomed to failure.

If elected Mayor Lee will work to change the public’s perception of cannabis and its legal status. The Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol party was launched in Febuary last year and contested the 2015 General Election campaigning for a Royal Commission to review the UK’s drug laws.

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