Murad Qureshi is standing to be a Labour candidate for the London Assembly. He sent Counterfire his campaign statement and we are happy to share his reasons for standing.
In my school days, during very turbulent times in the early eighties, I went to the opening of the Thames Barrier at Woolwich. It is the best legacy the old Greater London Council (GLC) left to Londoners, protection from floods for the foreseeable future. It is the kind of thing that needs to be done in London today, particularly during a climate emergency.
Getting back into the London Assembly and representing Londoners is one way of promoting critical infrastructure like this for London again and ideas like turning London into a National City Park, to make our city livable for the many. London local government at its best can do this and l want to be part of it again at City Hall.
I have a proven track record at the Greater London Authority (GLA) of working against austerity and privatisation. Working with Unions like the CWU, FBU and local Labour Groups I have helped save fire stations from austerity cuts and closure of post offices from the privatisation of the Royal Mail and will continue such activities in these very auster times in public office. By arguing for well overdue public investment into our critical public services.
The turbulent times, today are different from the early 1980’s but some similarities exist. The NF were on the march then as are the EDL now. Having helped beat the BNP into City Hall during the 2004 campaign, the London Assembly is one of the best places to make a stand against this move to the far right, representing the many varied and diverse communities of London. This is something I want to continue doing and is a constant threat that we should not lose sight of at all.
I want to also continue working with all the campaigns I have had been involved in London over the years. I have been an active campaigner on environmental issues - against the expansion of Heathrow airport, improvements in air quality and reductions in noise pollution, both in and out of public office. These are some of the critical issues of the day in London which l want to continue contributing too on behalf of Londoners. Helping and supporting Londoners at the Assembly as l have done before to put their case for the Mayor’s intervention in policies and substance. The Assembly is not just there to scrutinise the Mayor but bring up issues of concern to Londoners like knife crime and housing to the forefront of public discourse in a meaningful way.
I have also been at the forefront of anti-Trump marches particularly his warmongering as Chair of Stop The War Coalition (STW) succeeding Jeremy Corbyn soon after he become leader of the Labour Party bringing a voice for peace and international justice. We will continue these protests very time he comes to our shores including next December when he comes for NATO conference in the Docklands. Given Trump’s position against our Mayor, it is only right and proper that we protest strongly.
With the impending election of Boris Johnson as leader of the Tory Party and Prime Minister we can beat his "no deal" Brexit stance and continuation of auster times by working towards a Corbyn premiership. We can do that from the London Assembly at City Hall by using it to base for an alternative London for the many and not the few who he represents too well. For all these reasons I want to be back in the London Assembly by standing up for Londoners.