Hundreds of members and supporters gathered at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place in Euston last week for the London Liberal Democrats Conference and Rally. Speakers included the Party President Baroness Sal Brinton, Tom Brake MP as well as the Party’s indefatigable Leader, Tim Farron MP.
The Conference marked the official launch of the Mayoral and London Assembly elections as we counted 6 weeks to polling day on 5th May. Leading the team was Caroline Pidgeon AM, the Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate, currently Vice Chair of the Transport and the Crime and Policing Committees in City Hall, as well as being No. 1 on the London List.
Merlene Toh Emerson, another List Candidate was “interviewed” by the Chair of London Liberal Democrats, Chris Maines, on her bid to be the first Chinese Assembly Member across all parties.
“I have been working with the Chinese community in UK over the last 10 years, encouraging greater political participation and campaigning on issues of concern to the Chinese and SE Asian communities. However I am also active in other communities such as the Vietnamese, as Chair of a specialist Housing Association, and would like to be a voice for all communities.”
Merlene was then asked about what she would do for the business community in London. Having accompanied the Business Secretary, Sir Vince Cable to China in 2014, Merlene understood the importance of supporting UK’s export market and maintaining strong trading ties with countries in Asia. When she was Chair of Chinese Liberal Democrats she commissioned research on “UK-China Twinned Cities” (published via Amazon Kindle) that looked into case studies for the ingredients needed for successful twinning arrangements.
She shared her views on how London can stay competitive as a leading global city.
“I used to be a City Solicitor so know how important the City is as a financial centre and the contributions it makes to UK’s economy. There is nothing more important than UK remaining in Europe to safeguard millions of jobs..… and affecting 5 percent of GDP.. (her words were drowned at that point by the applause from the audience).
“We must however ensure direct foreign investment into London is channelled into growth sectors such as in the creative industries, in green technology… to create more jobs for our young people. And not into bricks and mortar and luxury housing that Londoners can ill afford.”
As is typical of such rallies, part of the purpose was to motivate supporters to go out to hit the pavements, win over voters, as well as to raise much needed funds for the final stretch in the campaign.
Merlene and her colleagues will be hosting an exclusive by invitation only “Cocktails and Canapes” at The Bingham Hotel in Richmond on 14 April especially for the business community, to be hosted by former Party Treasurer Lord Wrigglesworth and Baroness Susan Kramer, the Party’s Economic spokesperson in the House of Lords.
Anyone interested, please contact [email protected] to request an invitation.