EastLondonLines talked to Steve O’Connell, current Conservative London Assembly member for Croydon and Sutton, about his term and his campaign for re-election.
In the video below, recorded from a phone interview, O’Connell explains his stance on the controversial Beddington incinerator and responds to accusations that he was collecting football tickets during a cabinet meeting about it.
• “Make certain that the mayor – and any future mayor – treats Croydon and Sutton with as much importance, resources and investment as every other part of London.”
• Ensure Croydon is well-policed and that crime is reduced; hold the police to account.
• To consider and make a judgement on incinerator proposals in a way that prioritises “safety and welfare of residents”, and “base it on the facts”.
• Back and implement the proposals of the Croydon riots report.
• Get the Croydon tram extended to Sutton and further across the area. “Tram extensions delivered, bus networks improved.”
O’Connell was elected to the Assembly in 2008 after becoming a councillor for Kenley six years earlier. He has served regularly on the Cabinet and was the finance committee chair on the Metropolitan Police Authority until it was abolished in January.
He took flak for his salary last year after the Daily Mail called him “the best-paid councillor in the country”. His allowance from the council, the Assembly and the MPA totalled roughly £118,000, an amount he says has now been reduced.
Regarding Ken Livingstone’s mayoral campaign, he said: “This election is going to be very much on trust: will people trust or believe the candidate to deliver the promises? I think, put simply, Ken Livingston has a record of being untrustworthy.”
O’Connell grew up on the Bellingham council estate in Dulwich and worked in banking and brokering until becoming a full-time politician in 2006. He said: “I am what I am – 56 years old, brought up on a council estate for 20 years, proud of that, grammar school boy, and pleased with what I’ve achieved for residents.”