Re-elected GLA member Steve O'Connell promises to hold Boris Johnson to account
AFTER a month of campaigning, claims and counter-claims, Croydon still has a Conservative London Assembly member and will continue to be governed by a Tory mayor. But, despite this and a depressingly low turnout, the opposition parties believe last week's election results were hardly a ringing endorsement for the ruling Tories. Reporter Rachel Millard speaks to re-elected GLA member Steve O' Connell, who was re-elected with 60,152 (39 per cent) of the vote, with his majority cut from about 42,000 in 2008 to less than 10,000.
What is your response to the vote?
When you bear in mind what happened nationally with the collapse of the Liberal vote and an increased Labour swing, I am delighted with the 60,000 votes I got.
Do you think the slashed majority was a judgement on your last term?
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
I think it was a ringing endorsement on my term, to come out with a majority of 10,000.
What three things would you like the mayor to deliver for Croydon and Sutton in his next term?
I want to see the tram extended to Sutton and Upper Norwood. I want to see the mayoral share of council tax reduced by 10 per cent, and I want crime reduced in London boroughs.
Some people say you seem too close to the Mayor Johnson to effectively hold him to account. Do you agree with that?
Well, I think it is important to have a working relationship with whoever the mayor is, and I am pleased I have that relationship with the mayor where I can have private conversations with him for the benefit of Croydon and Sutton. I am on the record as saying that if he is coming up short in serving the people of Croydon and Sutton, I will be his fiercest critic. And he knows that.
Will you be pressing him to call in the decision about the Beddington Lane incinerator?
When I have seen all the facts, if I am convinced that it is safe for our residents, I would support it. But I still have not had all the information I need to make a decision. Experts will crawl all over the facts and make decisions and recommendations to the Sutton planning committee. My main concern is the safety of my residents, and I need to have independent information on which I can base my judgement.
Is the mayor's Health Inequality Strategy doing enough to reduce health inequalities between north and south in Croydon?
Well I think we need to look at it fairly closely, and I think there should not be anywhere in London with health inequality. But that is bigger than the mayor's remit.
I only raise it because of a report the mayor released in 2010: Health Inequalities Strategy...
Well it is not something I am completely 100 per cent on, but I know there is a health strategy around health inequalities that need to be addressed. It is right that people in the north should have the same expectations as people in the south.
Is the mayor doing anything that you feel is wrong or going in the wrong direction?
I judge him on is his performance, which I am pleased about. I stood on a platform supporting his nine pledges, and if he carries them out then the quality of life of our residents will be greatly improved.
Will you be running for MP in the future?
I am just over the moon to be re-elected.