Tory leader appears to borrow Labour slogan in New Year’s Day message
Nickie Aiken pledges to make Westminster for the many 'not just for the fortunate few'
05 January, 2018 — By Tom Foot
THE leader of Westminster Council appeared to borrow a phrase from Labour’s general election campaign slogan in her New Year message to residents – pledging to create a borough for all and “not just the fortunate few”.
Nickie Aiken made her statement – very similar to Labour’s socialist slogan “for the many, not the few” – in the week that a shock report named Westminster on a list of councils that could turn red in May.
Cllr Aiken also vowed to continue a recent crack- down on rogue landlords, increase the number of affordable homes in Westminster and launch a fund that she said would improve the chances of young people across the borough.
It is the latest evidence of the Conservative-run council shifting, politically, and comes in a week when eminent analysts suggested the Conservatives could lose control of Westminster.
Elections analyst Lord Hayward told the Evening Standard this week the Tories were facing the “fight of their lives to hold on to Wandsworth and Westminster”, adding: “On the evidence it looks like a bad night for them and a good night for Jeremy Corbyn in London.”
Westminster Council has for many years been a flagship of Conservative policy, prioritising low council tax, outsourcing and luxury housing development.
In a blog post, Andrew Murray, who stood as an independent councillor in West End ward, asked: “Could Labour win West- minster Council?”
He said: “For a long time Westminster Conservatives as a whole have paid more attention to the interests of business than to residents.
“If Labour can capitalise on this, in Soho and elsewhere, then the 2018 elections could be much more interesting than usual.”
On the new leader, Cllr Aiken, he added: “The big question was, what difference would she make? Following Philippa Roe’s move to the House of Lords, would it be business as usual for Westminster Tories or might there be some changes? There has been an undoubted shift in tone, but the jury is out on how substantial this will prove to be.”
Cllr Aiken’s New Year’s message said: “As well as responding to challenges during 2017, we have also taken positive and pro- active action for the people of Westminster.
“In the last year we have set out new policies which will increase the number of affordable and social homes across the city.”