Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This woman could be London's Mayor

woman-mayor.jpg

On 3 May London will vote for the next Mayor and Siobhan Benita is the independent candidate turning the tepid battle of Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone into a gripping political contest.

Instead of turning the election process into one big slanging match like her male counterparts, this 40-year-old mother of two is gradually gaining ground in the fight for City Hall. (Despite being told that due to Ofcom rules and BBC policy she probably won’t receive any TV coverage in the run-up to the election.) As the only woman trying to make change in our capital city, we wanted to find out more.

I’m sick of the candidates we’ve got; that’s why I’m running for mayor

Mayoral elections have always been about party politics but as an independent, I’m not looking over my shoulder the whole time thinking, ‘Is this the party line?’ In my 15 years as a civil servant I saw ministers come and go and they eventually lose the ability to say what they think. People should elect an individual; a single leader for London.

I don’t want people to vote for me because I’m a woman

But I do want women to vote for me. Women have been hit hardest by all the public spending cuts and I want to act to make their lives better, safer and more equal. I promise to lobby the government for subsidised childcare to put thousands of women back in the work force. I have also pledged to get funding for four rape crisis centres.

I’ve sacrificed a salary and a career as a civil servant

To run for mayor but I feel liberated, not scared. I’m a better role model to my children now because they see me passionate about what I do every day. There still aren’t enough women in politics talking about their talent and what they want from democracy.

We need to get away from the stereotypical idea that the mayor has to be a man in a grey suit

London is a huge place; 33 boroughs. If you don’t have a figure who pulls all the important issues together – investment decisions, housing, business, education – in a strategic way, you’re lost. The mayor is the voice for London and someone within your system who can lobby for London against the government. It would say a lot about how far the city has come to be able to put a woman in that position.

I’ve had no response from Ken about my campaign

But I’ve spoken to Boris. He told me that if they ever did let me on television, I’d win; so perhaps he’s glad they won’t.

siobhanformayor.com

Related

women-liberation.jpg

Women: Is it time to strike?

Sexy-women-in-politics2.jpg

Is this really women's place in politics?

SlutWalk-hero.jpg

"You can't ask for justice politely"

Comments

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Lupita Nyong'o's dreamy holiday to Lena Dunham's defiant message

by Nicola Colyer
20 Jul 2017

Lana Del Rey is changing her aesthetic because of Donald Trump

"I’m not going to have the American flag waving while I’m singing Born to Die."

by Moya Crockett
20 Jul 2017

BBC ever so politely shuts down backlash over first female Doctor Who

Some “unhappy” viewers contacted the broadcaster about Jodie Whittaker’s casting

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jul 2017

“I have my demons”: Neelam Gill on racism, modelling and mental health

Stylist’s cover star is outspoken, honest and on the up

by Anita Bhagwandas
19 Jul 2017

Actresses who have braved playing iconic women from history

As Felicity Jones signs up to play Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we take a look at other movie stars who have played real-life legends

by Moya Crockett
19 Jul 2017

Madonna launches legal battle to get her Tupac breakup letter back

The emotional letter was set to go up for auction – but Madonna says it was taken without her consent

by Moya Crockett
19 Jul 2017

Kate Middleton’s honest response to being called “perfect”

The Duchess of Cambridge isn’t here for the myth of perfection

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jul 2017

Christine Bleakley is over people asking when she’s going to have kids

“Everyone seems to be fascinated by my body clock…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jul 2017

Woman cancels her wedding and invites homeless people to the party

“It’s a great opportunity to spread love.”

by Moya Crockett
17 Jul 2017

“How pathetic sexists tried to tear down the first female Doctor Who”

Misogynists are terrified of Jodie Whittaker and everything she represents

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jul 2017