London Mayor candidate Siobhan Benita calls for more diverse public leaders


Ms Benita is also concerned that women are put off politics because they come under more scrutiny from the public.


By Helen Wright

An independent candidate running for Mayor of London is calling for more diverse public leaders.

Siobhan Benita, from New Malden, previously worked as a civil servant for 15 years and has now decided to run for mayor.

She made this decision after realizing she wasn’t impartial enough to be a civil servant anymore.

Ms Benita said: “One thing I am pushing is that we need more diversity full stop in our public leaders.

“When I left government diversity had gone backwards and there were fewer women and fewer ethnic minorities.”

Ms Benita, who was born and raised in London, added: “All the politicians we have do not seem to represent the really dynamic London that I know and love.

“I think we need more voices like mine; we need more representation and diversity.”

One of the reasons Ms Benita thinks that women are put off politics, alongside the long and irregular working hours, is because they come under more scrutiny from the public.

“There is still a thought that you are going to get criticized for a whole load of things as women that you wouldn’t necessarily get criticized for as a man.

“On some of the articles I have done that appear online, when you look at the comments afterwards they are about how you look and what you wear, and that’s quite daunting.

“I imagine that puts a lot of women off, even if they have loads of great ideas.

“There must be a lot of women who wonder if going through all of that is worth it, and the hassle to do it.

“I guess I got to the stage where I thought I could let that stop me or I could just go for it, and go out there and give it all my best shot.

“I am bringing different life experiences with me. I have two daughters of my own and I think it is good that they see that women do get out there and shape public life, and that it isn’t just men who do that.”

Ms Benita is running as an independent candidate because she thinks that party politics get in the way of what is best for London.

“I think someone who is independent of party politics will actually do this job much better.

“What we have at the moment is two main candidates (Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone) who bring all of that party political history, and national history, to that role, and it gets in the way.”

If elected Ms Benita promises to freeze London transport fares until April 2014, and to create a River Boat Service that will run between Putney and Greenwich.

She would also like to extend tube services on a Friday and Saturday night until 1.30am and work toward introducing a 24 hour skeleton rail service to key outer borough stations.

The elections for London Mayor will take place on May 3rd.  

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