Opinion: Pride, Extinction and tower

PUBLISHED: 08:30 28 July 2019

City & East AM Unmesh Desai supports the openess and diversity of London.

City & East AM Unmesh Desai supports the openess and diversity of London.


Earlier this month, it was an honour to march with over a million others at Pride in London.

It was a fantastic event showcasing that diversity and openness will always be our capital's strength.

This year's Pride was particularly significant, not only with it being the event's Jubilee year, but also given the current climate of rising homophobia nationwide.

It's incredibly sad and concerning that since 2014, hate crimes against LGBTQ+ members of the public have more than doubled and that recent surveys have revealed that pubic acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights is on the decline.

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Therefore, it is vital that we continue to support the efforts being undertaken by the London Mayor to ensure that London remains open to those of all sexualities, religions, cultures and nationalities.

I recently proposed an all-party supported motion to the London Assembly, calling on the mayor to write to the government asking that it ensures police officers are given a pay rise, to more fairly reflect their indefatigable efforts to keep us safe.

Since 2010, real terms pay has declined by around 18per cent, with police officers unable to strike. With the Met Police already overstretched and under-resourced the situation for our beleaguered officers is reaching crisis point.

We urgently need to see positive government intervention and national leadership on this.

I recently attended Extinction Rebellion's march in the constituency. East London suffers some of the worst air quality in the country, causing a public health crisis for us all. Extinction Rebellion serve to highlight the urgency with which we need to fight climate change, and I will continue to hold an open dialogue with them around the stringent action the mayor on this issue and what more can be done.

Finally, I was very pleased to see the mayor refuse the planning application for the proposed "Tulip Tower" in the City of London. I outlined to him in my objection letter around the damaging impact the development could have had on the Tower of London World Heritage site.

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