Ivan Massow

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.

Pharmacies Vs The Department Of Health

If the government does not change course and listen to frontline pharmacists desperately trying to make them see sense, I foresee a desperately bleak future for community pharmacy and indeed the whole of the NHS - a hole in the high street and in the chain of healthcare that will never be filled.
17/03/2017 12:00 GMT

An Open Letter to Theresa May

Community pharmacy is a part of the health service that bucks the inverse care law - there are more pharmacies per head of population in deprived areas than in more affluent areas. I speak for community pharmacists all over the nation when I implore you to bear this in mind as you pursue your aspiration of making Britain a country that works for everyone.
22/07/2016 09:57 BST

Politics Is in Flux and the Future of the NHS Is at Stake

The NHS absolutely cannot handle the closure of up to 3000 pharmacies in addition to its already enormous problems. Officials should get around the table with pharmacists and patients to discuss, from first principles, a future in which the pharmacy sector is vibrant and efficient, and fulfilling its full potential on the health service front line.
08/07/2016 15:04 BST

Two Million Voices Against Pharmacy Closures

Last month the UK's largest ever healthcare petition was delivered to Downing street, containing 1.8 million signatures. Since then another 200,000 more patients, pharmacists and concerned citizens have added their concerns, asking that the government reconsider their ill-conceived plans to reduce investment in local pharmacies. Two million people have spoken, and all we are asking for is that the government simply listens.
01/07/2016 12:08 BST

Why the Government Plans for Pharmacy Make No Sense

If the government wants to improve patient access it should invest in this; in allowing community pharmacies to help, instead of closing 'potentially' a quarter of them. Instead of being forced to go to your GP you can walk in to the pharmacist with no appointment and be seen, in most cases, immediately.
04/05/2016 09:31 BST

Pharmacy Could Be the Key to Saving Our Health Service

This government seems to have ignored the real victims to their proposals: the elderly, the vulnerable, the immobile and those without access to transport. The housebound; those who pharmacy has helped to remain living independently in their own homes for longer. The frail, and those who have little resource or influence to fight back.
26/04/2016 14:37 BST