Conservatives need democratic reform, says Samuel Kasumu

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Samuel Kasumu with Conservative Party London Mayor candidate Susie Hall.

By Samuel Kasumu.

I have received so many kind messages since the weekend. Not just from people that have supported my campaign, but from far and wide.

Senior figures, the media, and many of the great candidates that also put themselves forward for the Conservative London mayoral candidacy.

It has really been quite overwhelming. Thank you to my team and everyone who gave us a chance.

What has touched me most has been the younger people that have gotten in touch. I am a Conservative, and to have people from the next generation say they were inspired by what I was doing means the world to me. We had so many plans for how we would defeat Sadiq Khan and were just getting started.

I am a Conservative, and to have people from the next generation say they were inspired by what I was doing means the world to me.

Of course, I could have run a more ‘on message’ race. Not everyone was going to appreciate me speaking about important issues like dealing with the housing crisis. We knew what could potentially happen if I did not quieten down but decided to keep on trying to articulate a vision, not just for London but for what modern Conservatism could look like.

They say that the first thing you need to learn to do in politics is how to count. As an outsider, it was always going to be a challenge for me to navigate the first phase of the selection process. When we crafted our plan it was something we did not shy away from. That is why we went early in setting out our stall. That is why we focused our campaign on demonstrating we could be positively disruptive and entrepreneurial.

Whilst I am not taking it personal, I think we as a country must seriously reflect on the current state of our democratic system. There were people in a closed room, encouraged by very powerful establishment figures, that chose to prevent members of their own party from having a full choice about who they will be knocking on doors for over the next 10 months. Their choice may not have been me, but surely in a functioning democratic system they should have been allowed to make that choice for themselves.

There were people in a closed room, encouraged by very powerful establishment figures, that chose to prevent members of their own party from having a full choice about who they will be knocking on doors for over the next 10 months.

There was no appropriate mechanism for appealing the decision. The people in the room were allowed to make a decision with no accountability. No higher body to stress test the quality of the decision-making process. In any other working environment that would be unacceptable, but somehow for a role where someone will control £20bn of public funds it was ok to not have appropriate systems in place.

Of course, there are higher profile examples that should worry us more. Jamie Driscoll, the popular Labour mayor of the North of Tyne Combined Authority was blocked from re-standing in next year’s election without explanation and little route for appealing. Members of his local party were told they were not even allowed to voice their disquiet at this in a public forum.

Boris Johnson, for all his faults, was given a mandate by 14 million people. Conservative members were not given a real choice as to whether they wanted to stick with the person that delivered the largest Conservative electoral mandate for a generation. I worked in Downing Street and saw first-hand the things that were wrong with Johnson’s administration. But I am a democrat.

I have great sympathy for the things that the Conservative Democratic Organisation are fighting for. It is not just about one man, but about making sure that Britain doesn’t just say that it is an example of good governance. It must show it too.

I have great sympathy for the things that the Conservative Democratic Organisation are fighting for. It is not just about one man, but about making sure that Britain doesn’t just say that it is an example of good governance. It must show it too. I think that is worth fighting for.

I wish the three shortlisted candidates well.


Samuel Kasumu was a Conservative prospective mayoral candidate for London. His new book The Power of The Outsider is published next week.

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