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A Few Words With... Caroline Pidgeon

EXCLUSIVE: The most experienced candidate in the race to become Mayor of London tell us about her proudest achievements in the London Assembly, the Lib Dem ‘brand’, running a positive campaign and working with other parties

Image credit: London Liberal Democrat Campaign


Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon has been a member of the London Assembly since 2008 and is standing both for re-election and campaigning to be elected Mayor of London on Thursday 5th May. You can read our profile of her here.



Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. Firstly, what would you say are your proudest achievements during your time in the London Assembly, especially since 2012?



I have done a lot of work on making transport work better in London. Maybe two of the most important since 2012 have been that after the Mayor rejected my plan for part-time travel cards, I was able to force him to introduce lower daily caps on Oyster’s Pay As You Go, leading to a far better deal for people who work part-time, flexible hours each week or regularly work from home.


I also exposed how thousands of Oyster card users were being wrongly overcharged. In some cases, machine readers were automatically charging maximum fares, irrespective of the length of the journey.  Transport for London finally accepted the need for automatic refunds for some passengers, which have totalled over £8.5 million since 2013.



How would you compare the public's response to you and/or the Lib Dem 'brand' now, a year after the end of the Westminster coalition, with the last London Mayoral and Greater London Authority (GLA) elections in 2012?



It would be silly to deny that it was tough going for the Party while in coalition government.  Now, the reception I have been getting whilst campaigning around London is much more positive.  People are interested in learning what we are putting forward and the ideas the Liberal Democrats have for making London a better place to live.



Do you consider elements of Zac Goldsmith's campaign, especially his targeted mailings to people with South Asian names, racist? And is he asking the right questions about Sadiq Khan or engaging in smear tactics?



I’m not going to comment on the other campaigns, but what I would say is that people tell me they are less interested in hearing candidates squabble and bicker, and more interested in hearing about what they are going to do for Londoners.  That’s why I am running a positive campaign talking about the issues, not the personalities.



There has been no majority on the GLA for the last four years - which of the other parties have you been able to work with, which have you not, and why?



Because of the electoral system it is very unlikely that any one party would ever get an outright majority on the London Assembly.  And that is no bad thing because actually it forces people to work together to hold the Mayor to account.  When conducting in depth investigations, party politics are put to one side when coming up with recommendations and the reports have more value too.



Thank you very much.



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