Siobhan Benita claims Mayor of London position for Liberal Democrats

Tuesday 18th February 2020

Although in many ways Labour are the party who are left licking their wounds, and nursing their pride, after their worst showing in a general election for decades, the Liberal Democrats were crushed beyond measure.

Leader Jo Swinson, who was riding the crest of a wave after the May 2019 European election results, had even became so bullish as to suggest she could be the next prime minister last December, before losing her own seat as an MP.

The heady days of the Brexit debate saw MPs crossing the floor to join the Liberals and, for a brief moment in time, the centre looked like a powerful force in Westminster but, it was not meant to be.

Currently leaderless, the Lib Dems are a mere shadow of their former selves.

However, there is a glimmer of light on the horizon in the shape of a woman called Siobhan Benita.

Benita has launched her campaign to be Mayor of London alongside Tory defector Rory Stewart and the Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan.

London was very clearly a remain district in the Brexit debate, and although Rory Stewart was seen as more moderate and centrist than Boris Johnson, and now identifies as an Independent politician, he is not expected to accumulate enough votes to secure London’s top job.

However, what is in his favour, is that his face became well known across the media, during his campaign for the Tory leadership, and Ms Benita is starting from scratch in this regard.

Khan of course, as the incumbent, does have a CV to impress the electorate and a feisty record when it comes to tackling the government. Although it is not without some irony that London spent 8 years with the current prime minister in charge.

It will be Benita’s hope that London will be poised for change, in the same way that the country appeared to be in December, and that she can take advantage of this atmosphere.

Of course, one clear change that she can inevitably offer, is that as a woman she would be the first of her sex to take the role, and this in fact, was something that she was very keen to highlight at the launch of her campaign.

She compared the macho leadership styles of Trump and Putin - not Johnson - with the leadership of ‘love and compassion’ that she could offer.

Legalising cannabis, tackling knife crime, offering more after school activities and ending school exclusions, all comprised what she referred to as, “ a better way of doing leadership – it’s a very collaborative approach.”

Kingston-born Benita, was also very keen to talk about the environment, with what she referred to as “the most ambitious Green Deal for London” of all the Mayoral candidates.

Is London ready to give the Lib Dems a chance and a woman to boot?

Although Sadiq Khan, Rory Stewart and the Tory candidate, Shaun Bailey seem better positioned, in the current political climate of sweeping change across the globe, she could have as good a chance as any.

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