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Government / Local politics

5 things we learnt from the Staggers interview with David Lammy

Yes, we know there’s quite a significant election to get through first, but London’s mayoral election is just over a year away and the contenders are starting to take their places. Incumbent Boris Johnson won’t be running again, which leaves the field open to a gaggle of hopefuls from across the political spectrum. Each party will choose its candidate during primaries in mid-July.


As part of a series on our sister site, the Staggers, Stephen Bush interviewed Labour backbencher, Tottenham MP and mayoral hopeful David Lammy earlier this month about inequality, housing, and growing up poor.

Here are five things we learnt about the man who could be London’s mayor.

1. He has mixed feelings about the capital

Lammy said he grew up “looking at a London that I often didn’t feel a part of”, yet also believes the city “gave me all that I have”. 

2. He’s het up about affordable homes

London’s massive rate of building isn’t resulting in loads of new affordable properties, despite the affordable housing minimums across every borough. Lammy’s picked up on the fact that we’re all starting to notice:

Everyone knows that the cranes going up are not building houses for them. We think we can use the word ‘affordable’ and not get absolutely pilloried!

3. And he doesn’t think the private sector is the solution

So how can we fix it? Not by carrying on as we are:

The private sector cannot deliver the level of housing that we need, it never has. How many council houses did we build last year? We built forty.

4. London’s problems will only come into focus once the general election is over

Lammy believes that London’s 25 per cent unemployment rate and 40 per cent child poverty rate will be swept under the carpet during the general election race:  

These are the real issues that will be centre stage in a mayoral election, which will be on the doorstep in a general election but will not be discussed at a national level. 

5. He really, really wants a Labour win 

I want desperately for the Labour party to form the next government.

Well, that was kind of a given, right? 
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