Natasha Asghar defends London mayor bid and confirms she will not be resigning
Natasha Asghar has defended her bid to become the next mayor of London and confirmed she will not be resigning from her role in the Senedd.
The Conservative MS for South Wales East launched her campaign to replace Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London on Monday (May 22).
The MS who has previously described herself as a Newport “resident” said her application – which has received a backlash from both her political opponents and fellow Welsh Conservatives – was “by no means an easy decision to make”.
The Welsh shadow transport minister said she has lived in London for over 20 years and if she is able to secure the London mayor role she will make use of the “political experience and knowledge” she has gained as a Welsh Tory MS along with “a whole lot of passion and determination”.
She said: “London is a fantastic place to live, work and visit, but sadly Sadiq Khan has neglected our city for far too long and that’s got to change. Bringing about that meaningful change is what motivated me to seek the candidacy.”
The Tory MS posted her London mayor bid announcement to social media alongside a video in which she can be seen walking down a London Street.
Ms Asghar said she has no plans to resign from her current MS role and will continue to represent the people of South East Wales “to the best of my ability”.
Following the announcement on Monday evening, an anonymous source told Nation.Cymru “quite a few” Tory members are “disappointed” with Ms Asghar’s decision to run as a candidate for mayor of London.
The shadow transport minister said: “My colleagues in the Welsh Parliament were told about my plans before I announced my intention publicly. They have been extremely supportive and I want to thank them for being there for me.
“Of course, some of them will have legitimate questions, which I will be more than happy to answer. This was by no means an easy decision to make. I spent the last few weeks mulling the decision over before deciding to submit my application.
Sadiq Khan has been the Labour mayor for London since 2016 and plans to secure a third term in the 2024 mayoral election.
The South Wales East MS said she has a “real understanding of what the big issues are that Londoners face” and if she is successful, she plans to scrap expansion of London’s ULEZ projects, tackle the housing crisis and restore trust in the Met police.
Ms Asghar added: “London is a fantastic place to live, work and visit, but sadly Sadiq Khan has neglected our city for far too long and that’s got to change. Bringing about that meaningful change is what motivated me to seek the candidacy.
“For the last two years I have been holding the Welsh Government to account in an array of areas but transport in particular as Labour ministers rolled out backwards policies left, right and centre.
“I will be bringing my political experience and knowledge to the table as well as a whole lot of passion and determination.
“I’ve worked in London for years in a variety of roles including media and banking. I believe I am ready to take the fight to London and can be the breath of fresh air that the capital city needs.”
The criteria for candidates standing for London mayor requires them to meet a number of legal qualifications.
Mayor of London and London Assembly election rules state that candidates must be a citizen of the UK, Republic of Ireland, European Union or Commonwealth and are registered to vote in London, or have lived, worked, rented or owned property in London for the past 12 months.
During FMQ’s on Tuesday, Mark Drakeford aimed a London jibe at the Tory MS whilst discussing the cost of school uniforms in Wales.
The first minister said: “That guidance has already been issued, nobody is waiting on the guidance. The minister has published the guidance, it is statutory guidance.
“It is a great deal stronger than any guidance to be found across the boarder, or indeed in London, to take a random example.”
Natasha Asghar laughed along with other MSs whilst the Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies sat quietly.
A Welsh Conservative Senedd Spokesperson said: “Over the last two years Natasha has proven herself to be a great communicator and a fantastic champion of the causes close to her heart.
“We wish her all the best as she enters the start of the process for her candidature.”
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