Entrepreneur, anti-discrimination activist, Action for Children mentor and prospective Conservative candidate for Mayor of London
I moved to London more than 25 years ago to start my own business – helping those discriminated against by financial services to access insurance and financial products – and this city has been my home and my passion ever since.
I didn’t start out with many advantages in life. Dyslexic, adopted and with no ‘silver spoon’ to count on, I was determined to make my own way and London was generous in the opportunities it offered me. It still is and I am determined to ensure that Londoners today, and young people in particular, get the same chances. This is something that drives me politically and while our city’s streets may not be paved with actual gold, I want them to be a road map of aspiration and inspiration for everyone that lives and works here.
As a campaigner against discrimination I know that there is nowhere on earth I would rather live than London. A vibrant, dynamic and open-minded city, London is a living, breathing example to the world of what a successful multicultural society should look and feel like. I felt welcome when I came here. Not because I was like everyone else but because this is a place where difference is accepted and celebrated. That’s part of our strength – we know that diversity is the fuel that drives the dynamism of our city, and we thrive because of it.
I have spent a lifetime speaking out when I see unfairness, and sometimes sticking my neck out has got me into trouble. I resigned from the Conservative Party at the turn of the century, wanting to jolt the party out its 1950s mindset, and while I still stand by my decision, I’m older and wiser now, with greyer hair and a calmer approach. I was invited back by Michael Howard, who wanted to show how the party had changed, and under David Cameron’s leadership I have been proud to help the party I love embrace the modern world. Now I want to use the same energy and passion, combined with my business experience in getting things done, to make the changes we need to keep London thriving.