UK Politics

Siobhan Benita says 'time is right' for independent mayor

The only independent candidate in the race for London's City Hall has said voters are disillusioned with the main political parties and could choose a non-aligned mayor on 3 May.

Siobhan Benita said all the parties were "fighting over the centre ground" and it was unclear what they stood for.

The former civil servant said her experience of government gave her the right credentials for the job of mayor.

Her backers include Sir Richard Branson and Michael Portillo.

"All of the parties now are kind of fighting over the centre ground. I don't really know what they stand for. I think people are very disillusioned with party politics," she told BBC Two's Daily Politics.

"This is another reason why I think this is a moment in time when independent candidates can come through and make a real difference."

Different experience

Ms Benita, who is the only candidate to support building a new runway at Heathrow airport, said she had "always voted Labour" in the past but added: "Do I know what I would vote in the next election? Absolutely not."

The independent candidate's campaign is being helped by her former boss, ex-civil service head Lord O'Donnell.

Her support for a third runway has won the backing of Virgin Airlines boss Sir Richard Branson and Mr Portillo, the former Conservative cabinet minister.

Wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "I am indpendent - get over it", Ms Benita said working in the transport, environment and local government departments for 15 years gave her the experience needed to be mayor.

"For the mayoral roles, we don't always have to have traditional party politicians. We should get different people coming forward with different types of experience," she added.

There are six other candidates hoping to be elected mayor when Londoners cast their votes on 3 May.

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