In Praise of Andrew Boff AM
Neil Pearce pays tribute on behalf of Conservative East Enders
For a decade, he was the leading light in the London Borough of Hillingdon and served as its leader; in Hackney he propelled the Conservatives from fourth place to pull off a stunning victory in the Queensbridge by-election and he was famously sipping Rioja in the bath when he took the surprise phone call telling him he had been elected to the Greater London Assembly. Such is the unrivalled character of Andrew Boff, Conservative London-wide Assembly Member.
For us in the Labour heartlands of east London - with no constituency members and a just a handful of councillors - Andrew Boff has been a friend and champion. He has taken up many causes with passion and pride where others would have ignored us.
For that reason, we wish to show our appreciation for the sheer dedication Andrew has invested in the forgotten Labour fringes, east of the city mile.
Many politicians look for red meat issues in which to carve out a name for themselves in politics but Andrew has concentrated on the problems that make or break communities and affect their quality of life on a day to day basis. He has implemented:
- A review into small shops with the aim of allowing councils to invest development monies in existing small shopping areas An investigation into the scale of overcrowding in the London.
- An examination of the availability and quality of our swimming pools, especially concentrating on the lack of swimming lanes and diving facilities.
- A review into social care provision and sheltered accommodation.
- Campaigned tirelessly for more family-sized accommodation and leading the criticism of many flawed development schemes which fail to cater for families of the future
He has also worked on more localised issues, questioning the GLA’s backing of the expansion of London City Airport; fighting for third carriages to reduce overcrowding on our DLR network; supporting the relaxing of rules to allow loft space extensions in Hackney; calling for changes to the Tower Hamlets marathon route to show case to the world the best of the east end; lobbying the Mayor to prevent a new prison being built on the Dagenham riverside; advocating the need for long-lasting quality housing on the Olympic site and promoting the need to sustain vibrant street markets.
Andrew never hesitates to be there for the Party either. He has always played an integral role in by-elections from Seven Sisters, New River, Royal Docks, Chadwell Heath to Mile End East. He has no hesitation in supporting local party events or to invigilate over internal party processes.
When he should be taking the chance to indulge in another Rioja, he is distributing a community magazine in Hackney and running a local youth club. A complete 24-7 service in one Assembly Member.
Andrew is a genuine advocate for those left on the margins of London and often for us, left on the political margins of the capital. The revered Conservative patriarch, Iain Macleod once said:
‘The Tory Party is, and must always remain, the natural spokesman of those who are undefended.’
Few match Andrew in actively living out that guiding philosophy.