Siobhan Benita: The Lib Dem candidate for London mayor with a plan to tackle knife crime

Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor and Kingston resident Siobhan Benita pledged to prioritise tackling serious knife crime and helping young people find housing.

She suggested more creative ways to help young people find affordable housing, such as creating apps to pair them with the elderly living alone.

She said: “We have a lot of people living on their own, lonely, and we could somehow match these people with young people looking for a room.

Benita wants police to immerse themselves in local communities to tackle serious violence.

“Part of the deal could be low rent if you spent time with the elderly person.”

Reopen local police stations

Benita, who sat on the parliamentary commission for youth violence, has promised to reopen local police stations in a bid to tackle serious knife violence in the capital.

She said the mayor needs to make sure police presence in communities is positive and consistent, rather than acting only as law enforcement.

Benita joined the Liberal Democrat party the day after the UK voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. She previously stood as an independent candidate in the 2012 London Mayoral elections.

The former civil servant admitted she found standing as an independent candidate easier, as she is now very conscious of properly representing the message of the Liberal Democrats.

Benita surpassed expectations in the 2012 election, coming in fifth place and finishing less than 8,000 votes behind the then Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick.

“Unfinished business”

She said: “At the time, people wanted a different kind of politics and they wanted someone authentic, who wasn’t joined to one of the two main political parties.

“I think when I say I have “unfinished business” from 2012, it’s because I know I can do even better and I’m really proud to be running now as a Liberal Democrat.”

The Labour candidate for the 2020 election is current Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Conservative candidate is Shaun Bailey.

Khan is “too little, too late” 

Siobhan Benita has said the time is right for the Lib Dems to have an impact in the 2020 election.

Although not denying Khan’s popularity, Benita said his stance towards serious knife crime is “too little, too late”.

Benita’s supporters say she provides a welcome alternative to Khan and Bailey.

She said: “The obvious one is – I’m a woman!

“You want to be elected because you’re the best candidate, not because you’re a woman.

“But it is time to have more women in public roles.

“I like to think I would have that ability to do the local and strategic. I really enjoy getting out across London and meeting people and understanding what makes them tick.

“And I would have a real focus on the big issues: young people, transport, housing, environment.”

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