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Political Animal

Just so you know Penny... not being a Londoner (i.e. resident) counts massively against you - in voter terms. You would get hammered for this - and your views or policies wouldn't stand a chance. FYI this isn't conjecture; but research-based.

Simon Mallett

I'd concentrate on representing the views of Portsmouth and their commuters rather then entering a mayoral contest, where residence is a political prerequisite if not a legal one.

Andrew Young

Londoners do have a 'Capital Card' that entitles them to discounts - the Oyster card.

Targetting commuters is a great plan - but if they aren't registered to vote in London the goodwill towards you won't translate into winning.

Like your comments about key workers though...


I could not agree with this idea less!!

Unlike Penny (who lived in Kennington until she was selected as PPC for Portsmorth), most commuters into offices wherever I have worked either (a) have never lived in London and know little of it (or about it) beyond the immediate environs of their offices or (b) lived in London when they were younger but decided to leave because they were not natural city dwellers and always hankered after the countryside. They also often tend to dislike the multi-cultural, multi-racial changes of recent years and have fled to the home counties to avoid them.

In a sense, London is now a different country from much of the rest of England, and one which those who choose to continue living here prefer.

Also, it is not necessarily in London's interests to make commuting more attractive. We want to do everything to encourage people to stay here, and spend the money they earn here, particularly the middle classes with families who often leave because the State education is so poor (or patchy) and they can't afford private schools. It is best to reduce the negatives about living here, of course; but to make the alternative of commuting more attractive is counter-productive and may tip the marginal case towards moving out.

Even by train, long distance commuting from places like Portsmouth is also far from green, and certainly economically wasteful. It is also often not helpful in pushing up local property prices towards London levels.

So, Penny, either give up Portsmouth, come back to London and stand as Mayor as a Londoner (you could always combine that with getting adopted for an outer London parliamentary seat and can champion commuting for them if you like) or stay in Portsmouth representing its interests which are not London's. If you came back to London, I am sure you would be an excellent potential candidate.

Having said that, I recognise that this is probably a publicity exercise for your profile in Portsmouth and I haven't considered here whether or not it will go down well there.

John Moss


Any opponent will immediately demand to know whether you will give up your position as PPC for Portsmouth and if you say no, accuse you of not being serious.

I do not think it is possible for somebody running for one elected office to run for another one at the same time. It's a bit different if you are already elected, but what would the people of Portsmouth say if you won a by-election there next year, then abandoned them for London?

A "commuter Mayor" may not be a bad idea, but not somebody with your other current commitments.

Huw Morgan

I think this is worth considering. I think people who work fulltime in London should also get to vote for the London Mayor, as his or her actions have an impact on them. After all, commuters into London are the backbone of London's economic success. In fact, I would imagine that the vast majority of professionals working here live in either outer London or the Home Counties, because to live in Central London you need to be either super rich or on benefits.

David Banks

wow , what a stunner! We certainly need more beautiful women in politics so shes got my support!

Roger Evans

Penny might qualify to stand if she can prove that London is her main place of work, but it's a weak qualification. She certainly won't get a vote.

But there is no reason why a conservative mayor could not appoint her as an advisor. The voice of people who work in our city should be heard - they have a stake in our success even if they don't live here.


Sorry - you simply can not understand the drive, misery or sheer frustration of London until you are living in it. Yes commuters do make up a part (namely 8-10am / 5-7pm) - but they dont pay council tax for London nor any of the other charges.

I commuted for four years while at University - and London was different then from how I see it now.

Concentrate on Portsmouth (it needs it) and, well, good luck.


I want a candidate for mayor who treats London neither as a theme park for tourists, nor as a workplace only. Why should those of us who live here arrange our polity to suit those who CHOOSE to commute in from Portsmouth etc. Most of the social problems in inner London can be traced back to the flight of the middle class to the suburbs (and apparently the south coast). Designing policies to make things better for out of towners - rather than designing policies that bring them back into inner London (and thence its schools etc) is what we need.

I find it hard to consider a more ridiculous policy - is it April?


I'm sorry but commuters from outside Greater London are not Londoners - period. They don't pay for it, don't live it and tend not to contribute to the community (and usually, sadly, not much to their own communities outside London either because they spend much of their evenings on trains, poor blighters).

Small example: Penny wants a "commuter Mayor" to have a say in the Olympics. However, it is only us Londoners who will be paying the extra Council Tax (granted that all will also pay to an extent through general taxation, but that gives a taxpayer in Cornwall as much right to a say as any commuter).

Sure, many people in good jobs in London live outside - but much of the economic success of a city is driven by its workers spending their money there, including filtering out into local shops, neighbourhood restaurants etc, away from the West End, at week-ends as well as mid-week. London works, for instance, as a world financial centre and as a renowned legal and entertainment centre, because all these elements fit together to make it a place which is nationally, and internationally, attractive to live (particularly for the young professionals to start out here, providing a concentration of talent, even if they leave or commute later). The commuter on the 6.05 to Tunbridge Wells doesn't generally contribute much to creating the social environment which makes all this happen, although he or she might have done when they were younger.

Also, living in central London is not just for the super-rich and those in social housing. Sure there is a problem with polarisation but, for example, many young professionals who are not "super-rich" enjoy living in central London and they usually only need to move out when they need to educate their children (if they have them). By central London I am of course including places like Kennington, Clapham, Hammersmith, the East End, Hackney, West Hampstead etc - not just the West End and Chelsea that non-Londoners might think of as central. And to carry on living in such places into middle age, yes it's better if you're got a reasonably good professional-type income but you certainly don't need to have joined the super-rich. It's a matter of the priority that you place on participating fully in one of the most vibrant and best cities in the world.

Why would Londoners want someone as Mayor who doesn't even like it enough to want to live in it?


I commute into London daily and am always thankful that I don't have to pay for Ken's various follies. It takes me less time to get from leafy Surrey courtesy of South West Trains than it takes my colleague to battle his way in from Ealing on the Central line. I don't want a say in how London is run, thanks very much.

Paul Kennedy

I'm sure you are well meaning Penny, but stick to Portsmouth North, that 1,139 narrow Labour Co-Op majority needs all of your attention, you almost did it last time and I'm sure you will do it next time, and good luck to you.

Justin Hinchcliffe

Portsmouth Conservatives must be hopping mad!


Middle class people left inner London because of the massive demographic change. We don't all like being the only white person for 5 miles around! As for commuters not contributing to London - rubbish! They work in jobs that contribute to the economy of London. Without commuters from outside London The City would be unable to function. I happen to live in outer London but resent the Stalinist politically correct and high-taxation approach of the Red Ken regime, and don't blame anyone for wanting to live a couple of miles further away to escape this farce.

Graeme Archer

I'm sorry, but this is a deranged article. London policy should be decided by those of us who live in it. It's quite bad enough coping with control-freak politically unpleasant Livingstone, without reading about Concerned From Portsmouth's plans to ask her fellow south coast residents what more London should do to ease their access to health care. Hello? Sorry to point out the bleeding obvious - to a CANDIDATE!! - but really I think a higher priority ought to be ensuring that Londoners - that's the people who live in London, Penny - get access to healthcare. There are still too many - usually poorer - residents who can't get onto lists.

Perhaps we should start canvassing London to see what more could be done to ease our way of life; how about spending some more of our taxes here where we live? You know - those boroughs like Hackney that you choose not to live in, Penny.

Jeremy Kite

oh dear.

Please reconsider Penny. you have a bright, bright future but this will stick with you like s**t throughout your career. It will be portrayed as a pretty shallow publicity stunt and alienate a lot of london residents who would otherwise be very, very interested in what you have to say when you get to Westminster. sincere best wishes and thinking of your interests. Jeremy


As someone who commutes to London my primary concern is that the trains don't break down and that their drivers don't go on strike.

""Key workers" is a term that appears to be restricted to the Public sector."

Good point. Seeing as investment bankers bring in lots of money I'd say that they were also key workers. Why can't the government just be honest and say "low income public sector workers".

Tom Griffin

Whatever happens during the months ahead I am certain that I will have done more for the people of Portsmouth - where I live, than Ken has ever done as Mayor for the people of Willesden Green - where he does.

I hope you realise how big a target that is.

london tory

Yawn. Yet another Tory who can't take this election and the job of the Mayor seriously.

Aren't PPCs supposed to have some political and campaign sense? Isn't that supposed to be a key part of their job, of why they are selected? I profoundly hope that the person who made this idiotic suggestion is either joking or not on the priority list.

But then again Tory MPs are not immune from this inability to take the London Mayoral election seriously. Look at Ms. Lait who wants to reduce the powers of the Mayor--in other words to return to the failed policy of the last Conservative government of trying to attack Livingstone by attacking London's democracy. Perhaps she should reflect on the fact that like all but one Scottish Tories in parliament she sits for a seat in England--the answer in Scotland was NOT to oppose Labour's devolution.


Obviously Penny cannot stand as she lives outside London and should be concentrating on her PPC. The A in list in not meant to stand for absent, neither geographically nor in common sense.
However, it is a good and valid point that the Conservatives (no longer able to say we after that conference) should consider converting the Mayor of London, who is needlessly confused with the Lord Mayor of the City into a Governor or Commissioner of the Home Counties. Same powers but wider remit, bringing in Kent, Surrey Berkshire Herts and Essex. All of these are commuter areas and all are affected by TfL and the Met Police which are the Mayor/Governor's powers. If the cost was redistributed over a larger area, Londoners would not be paying so much and the Governor would be a permanent conservative post as opposed to the Mayor being usually Labour.

Blairs constitutional reforms were set up for Labour's political advantage and the Conservatives would be stupid to consider them unalterable.

london tory

Why not try and win the Mayoral election first? ;)


Correct me if I'm wrong but... Penny doesn't even live in Portsmouth either, so at least is consistent in seeking to represent places she lives outside of. As I understand she lives on Hayling Island which is outwith Portsmouth city boundaries and is in David Willetts Havant constituency (for those not familiar with this part of the country!). And to think that she made such a big thing of buying a house "locally" during the election last year. By all means have Penny in London-because there isn't a vacancy in Portsmouth anytime soon:-)

interested party

It's bad enough commuting in to Central (Inner) London when you live in the suburbs ask Tory Simon Fawthrop with his Communities First Campaign.

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