Pimlico Plumber outlines his reasons for wanting London Mayor role

Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins OBE has thrown his hat into the ring to become Mayor of London in 2020.

The 65-year-old admitted he had been frustrated for the past two years about how London had been run and it was finally time for him to do something about it.

“We have to remember that London adds so much to the economy,” said Mr Mullins. “There are so many people in London that keep London moving, but since we had the referendum, it’s totally been neglected.

“More so than ever, we need someone to represent London, somebody who knows what they’re talking about, somebody’s that’s passionate, somebody that’s powerful to make sure that we return to being the best city in the world. There could be massive job losses in London, if businesses move out.”

The entrepreneur has enjoyed a long-running association with the Conservatives, but grew alienated with the party following their stance on Brexit. A second referendum has been mooted and it is something Mullins would support.

“70% of Londoners voted remain, so if we’re going on the will of the people, then bring it on. You’ve got to remember that Theresa May was a remainer.

“She was allowed to change her mind and become a leaver. That’s what I think people in London and all over the UK should be allowed.”

He believes that running for Mayor transcends party politics and feels the practical skills he has gained setting up a successful and profitable business stand him in good stead for the role

“If you’ve got a business brain applied to Mayor of London, then it’s got to be a massive advantage,” Mr Mullins said.

He continued: “We run Pimlico Plumbers on common sense and that’s what we need as Mayor of London. I’m not a sitting-on-the-fence character, I don’t have a problem with giving my opinion and I’m also happy to admit when I’m wrong. A lot of these posh politicians, half of them can’t do their shoelaces up.”

The Remain supporter believes that the scourge of violent crime can be combated by introducing free travel on the bus and tube network for apprentices under the age of 25. As a result, disillusioned youth are more likely to find a job.

Mr Mullins laid out this rationale to Boris Johnson when he held London’s most prestigious post and is confident the approach could reap rewards extremely quickly.

He welcomes the opening of a third runway at Heathrow, which would allow apprentices to occupy the jobs that will inevitably be created.

He said: “Most of the people doing things on London streets don’t have a job and the first thing they say ‘I’m bored, I’ve got no future, I’ve got nothing to do’.

“Youngsters working as an apprentice don’t go round stabbing people. These youngsters would be in the workplace, so there would be a massive saving there.

“If they’re getting an income and they’re not the forgotten people, crime would fall massively.”

Mr Mullins reserved some of his harshest criticism for Khan, pouring scorn on the Mayor’s increased investment in the police force.

He said: “Sadiq Khan is putting in £15m extra for policing. Is he in the real world? £15m goes nowhere, absolutely nowhere. He needs to go back to the roots of the problem and get youngsters into work.”

Transport is another area which animates Londoners. The future of Uber is a particularly incendiary topic and Mr Mullins backed calls for greater regulation of the service, while lauding the traditional Black Cab.

He believes that the American firm’s business model is unsustainable in its current form and that price rises are sure to be follow if

He explained: “We’ve got a great taxi service in London. The Black Cab is an icon of London. So many tourists come over here and want to get in a black taxi. I want to be a fair Mayor and some people want to use Uber and I’m saying ‘not a problem’.

“The reason they’re cheap is they’re trying to run black taxis off the road. It’s a false economy. No-one can continue to run a business at a loss. They’re possibly going to be dearer than black cabs.”

Mullins also called for the introduction of a test to assess the competence of prospective Uber drivers, in a similar vein to the Knowledge, and savaged the state of the business as a whole.

He admitted: “I don’t think it would be a loss in the UK if Uber wasn’t around. I run a business, we get complaints, we deal with them. Uber run a business, they get complaints, they ignore them.

“They’re endangering people’s lives and at this moment, I would not get in an Uber and I wouldn’t tell any of my friends or family to get in one. Safety is more important than saving a couple of pounds on an Uber. They’re going to hang themselves if they can’t get their act together.”

Another subject close to Mr Mullins’ heart, the t-charge imposed by Khan, directly affects Pimlico Plumbers and is something he believes has had a devastating impact.

Mr Mullins said: “You can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs. Khan came out with the t-charge. That is crippling businesses.

“One-man bands, they’re going out of business, they don’t come into London. You’ve got to give people incentives, you don’t penalise them. All he had to do was spread that change of vehicles over five years or something.

“We’ve had pollution problems for years and yes, we’ve got to take them seriously, but some of the manufacturers tradespeople’s vans, they’re not up to speed. We’re waiting for Volkswagen to come out with the ideal van for us. They still haven’t done it, so all it’s done is put pressure on us.”

Mr Mullins has readily admitted he does not have all the answers, but is confident he can build a team around him that can enact positive change. He certainly does not lack self-belief and has a simple philosophy.

“I know how to run a successful, profitable business,” he said. “We need to put our money in the right areas. The more people you get into work, the stronger the economy will be.”

This showman may well be an outsider, but he is giving himself plenty of time to prepare. He certainly won’t go unnoticed.

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