In the last financial crash in 2008, Luisa Porritt was a young job hunter trying to make a start in her career. Now, as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, she is determined to lead London out of the current crisis.
In this interview, we get to know the fresh face in the race and her plan for London’s recovery from Covid-19.
So, are you a Londoner?
Yes! London is my home. Born and raised in Camden - where I’m now a councillor too.
What made you run for Mayor?
Our city is facing so many challenges right now. The high cost of living, the climate crisis, Brexit and, of course, now the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is a crucial time for London. We need big ideas and urgent action to get through it and I think I’m the woman for the job.
So what is your vision for London?
A liberal London – where the 600 neighbourhoods that make up our capital lead the way.
I believe every area in London is special, each with its own identity and history. But with the cost of housing pushing people out of the areas they know and the decline of our high streets as vibrant centres - it feels like we’re going backwards.
I want to take London forward. Creating truly affordable, zero-carbon homes and reinventing our high streets for the 21st century.
Luisa Porritt listening to a local trader in Brixton
Everybody promises affordable homes, how will you actually make it happen?
Yes I know, the current Mayor Sadiq Khan has let us down on that. He simply hasn’t built the number of homes he said he would. I think that’s because he’s not being imaginative enough.
To solve the housing crisis, we need to advantage of every opportunity we can get. That’s why I have a plan to put homes in the heart of the city, converting the empty office space caused by homeworking into homes we can afford.
This will benefit everyone, breathing new life into the centre and relieving pressure on the need to build houses elsewhere.
What do you think about the current Mayor, Sadiq Khan?
I think he means well but doesn’t deliver. People often ask me: "What has he actually done?". Nobody can name me his biggest achievement and I think that speaks volumes.
And what about the Conservative Government?
I don’t think they really care about London. They don’t get why we need to tackle the housing crisis and support jobs here. And they have been useless during the pandemic, letting Londoners down by failing to deliver a proper test and trace system.
What is your biggest achievement?
Becoming a Member of the European Parliament for London last year and having the privilege of standing up for our city’s place at the heart of Europe.
Luisa Porritt previously represented London as a Member of the European Parliament
Why should Londoners put their trust in you?
I was job hunting during the last recession so I get it. All of my friends have been through it, I understand that people are feeling worried about their jobs and rising housing costs. You can trust me to fight your corner.
Londoners are resilient. I know that with the right leadership and vision, we can build on our city’s amazing potential and reinvent our city for the better. If we bring London together, anything is possible.