Rory Stewart: "We owe particular gratitude to the Polish community"

Rory Stewart:
Born in British Hong Kong, Stewart spent his early years in South Kensington before his family moved to Malaysia. (Credit: Getty Images)
The 2020 London mayoral election will be held on 7 May 2020, to elect the mayor of London. We've decided to talk to one of the candidates - Rory Stewart.

Roderick James Nugent Stewart OBE FRSL FRSGS (born 3 January 1973) is an Independent candidate for Mayor of London in the upcoming 2020 election. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Penrith and The Border from 2010 to 2019 and served in several ministerial roles, including as international development secretary in 2019. 

Oxford's graduate, Stewart became a diplomat, working in Indonesia and Montenegro. He left the civil service to undertake a two-year walk across Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. He later wrote a best-selling book, The Places in Between, about his experiences. He later lectured at Harvard and worked for several non-governmental organisations. 

In 2015, he was appointed to the Cameron Government as minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. From 2016 to 2019, Stewart served in the May Government as international development minister, Africa minister, and prisons minister. In 2019, he was promoted to the cabinet as international development secretary. 

On 3 October 2019, Stewart announced he had resigned from the Conservative Party and that he would stand down as an MP at the next general election. He intends to stand as an independent candidate in the 2020 London mayoral election.

As a teenager, he was a member of the Labour Party. While a student at Oxford, Stewart was a private tutor to Prince William and Prince Harry during the summer. (Credit: Rory Stewart)

Why you've decided to quit the Conservative party and put yourself forward as an independent candidate to be Mayor of London?

Rory Stewart:  - I believe that the way to make a difference in the modern world is through local politics. I also think that as an independent - where you are free from party politics - you have the best chance to really help people and represent your city truthfully. 

What is your opinion on Sadiq Khan's mayoral decisions?

- I think that he has done some things well, but his weakness lies in a lack of action. I would ask all Londoners "do you feel safer than you did for years ago? Is your housing more affordable than it was? And is your commute better?" If the answer is no then I'm afraid we have to realise it's time to move on. 

What would be your main goals and dreams as a Mayor of London?

- My biggest priority is safety - making absolutely sure that people feel safe in every part of the city. We have to make sure that we are tackling knife crime for example. And the second thing is to make sure that the city works works really well - that it's functioning in every way, from transport and housing to the cleanliness of the street outside your house.

In October 2019, Stewart announced that he was to stand as an independent in the 2020 London mayoral election against incumbent Labour mayor Sadiq Khan and Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey. (Credit: Rory Stewart)

Do you think that Brexit will change London's economy and character?

- I believe Brexit will pose a real challenge, and we need to make sure that we defend London's economy. For example, we need to ensure that we have the right kind of immigration policy to bring in talented workers - who we need for everything from healthcare to the construction industry to a new digital industry in computer science. We also need to make sure that all the unique businesses in London - from the City of London to our technology companies - are able to trade freely with the EU. 

It will be in the detailed negotiations of the new Brexit deal that the future will be determined, and my job as Mayor would be to make sure we get that right for London.

Polish community in London is estimated at around 200K people. Is there anything you could do for them as a Mayor?

- The first thing that I would like to do with the Polish community is to make sure that they are fully valued and honoured as citizens of London. People come to this great city from all over the world, and everybody deserves to be safe, to have a good commute, and to have the right housing policies in place for them. I think we owe particular gratitude to the Polish community, some of whom are amongst the most talented workers that we have in United Kingdom. We need to ensure that talented Polish people can continue to come into our country, to contribute fully to our way of life, and be respected and valued here.

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  • Jerzy Joniec
    4 lutego, 19:04

    A great article. Congratulations to the author

  • Caroline Loizok
    4 lutego, 22:05

    extra !!

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