Our London Assembly candidate, Freddie Downing, looks to the elections ahead:
It won't come as a surprise to anyone when I say the next General Election will be a tough fight. The last few years haven't been easy: Brexit, a global pandemic, war in Europe, an energy crisis, two changes of leadership and now turmoil in the Middle East. In addition, at the next election the Conservatives will be trying to achieve something that hasn't been done before in modern times. We are trying to win a fifth consecutive term in office.
However, there are reasons to be hopeful. Firstly, Rishi Sunak's new team is impressive. The Conservative Party is a broad church of thoughts, views and opinions. This is well reflected in the new Cabinet. It also blends experience (Cameron, Hunt, Shapps) with fresh and upcoming talent, like Kemi Badenoch, Victoria Atkins and Lucy Frazer. It's a team full of talent and capable of delivering. Secondly, let's be clear - the Prime Minister and Government are delivering on the five promises. Inflation has been halved compared with the start of the year. Further, whilst economic growth may not be as strong as we'd like, let's not forget it was only a few months ago prominent economists were predicting a recession. Those predictions have been proved wrong. Our national debt is also currently on track to be falling as a share of GDP over the medium term.
The economy has turned a corner and the Prime Minister and Chancellor deserve credit for putting in place a credible fiscal policy and restoring stability. The Prime Minister has also recently re-affirmed his commitment to stopping the small boats. This is something very important to a lot of us. The Supreme Court's decision on the Rwanda policy was disappointing, but it's important to highlight that small boat crossings are down more than a fifth on last year and the new deal with Albania means that Albanians coming to the UK illegally are being swiftly removed. New pay deals for NHS staff, including nurses and senior doctors, should bring an end to the strikes that have badly disrupted NHS care for months, so that we can start bringing down patient waiting times.
Finally, Labour hasn't changed. They are still the party of high spending, high taxes and high borrowing. The only thing that's changed is Labour's now led by a man who's prepared to say anything if he thinks it gets him closer to Number 10. Starmer's Labour have no principles, policies or plan.
Yes, the next election is going to be tough. But it's a fight worth fighting and a fight we can win.