Laurence Fox's bid for Mayor of London
Laurence Fox has announced his bid to stand for Mayor of London at the election on 6th May. As the current leader of Reclaim party, Fox claims he would focus on removing lockdown restrictions, saying that if elected he would lift lockdown the next day. However, the Prime Minister is the only one with this power under the Coronavirus Act.
Fox has been fairly outspoken over the course of the coronavirus pandemic due to his strong opposition to the UK lockdown and the policies used to contain the virus. He has argued that with each week “that goes by without lifting lockdown”, there are “more lost jobs, more lost businesses and even more taxes in the future.” Fox has also argued that people have a “sovereign” choice about whether or not to have the coronavirus vaccine, sparking outrage amongst those who have pointed to the high death toll of covid-19 and the need to protect against it.
(Laurence Fox, leader of the newly formed Reclaim party, and London Mayoral candidate 2021).
Laurence Fox’s Mayor of London campaign, as advertised on the Reclaim party website, calls for “freedom to work”, “freedom to move” and “freedom to speak”. Through these promises, Fox highlights his focus on freedom from lockdown for Londoners in terms of working where and how they want and freedom to move and be amongst others, as well as promising to protect the freedom of speech and encouraging people to “cherish” their history.
Whilst Fox would not himself have the power to end lockdown, he believes that should he be elected on a platform of simply opposing lockdown, it would send a clear and unavoidable message to the government to act and remove restrictions.
Fox’s stance against lockdown is controversial. He has faced criticism over the course of the pandemic due to a perceived disregard for the NHS and for the country’s health, with him tweeting in November that he had a large group over for lunch and that “if the NHS can't cope, then the NHS isn't fit for purpose”. He has also criticised other Mayoral candidates, claiming current Mayor Sadiq Khan (Labour) has failed on crime, transport and housing, and Shaun Bailey (Conservatives) was “virtue signalling” by proposing a Park Lane cycle lane.
The London Mayoral election takes place on 6th May 2021. Register to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Fran Robson, Policy and News Analysis Associate