Unmesh Desai on his 'responsibility to east London'

Annie Beasant at the match girl strike committee

The Match Girl strikers of 1888 are just one group of inspirational people in east London's history - Credit: Archant

As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, I was re-elected as the London Assembly member for City & East, which was the last constituency to declare, very late on the Saturday evening.

The result made the wait worthwhile for me; I got 57 per cent of the vote, and a 78,000 vote majority.

That result only increases my sense of responsibility towards east London, particularly in confronting the challenges ahead as we recover from Covid-19.

I want to thank the good people of City & East for putting their faith in me at such a time. Every vote has to be earned, and valued; no voter can be taken for granted.

Unmesh Desa will be monitoring the implementation of the new Policing Action Plan.

Unmesh Desai says reports show east London will suffer the worst employment rate in London by the end of the year - Credit: City Hall

In east London we have a proud history from which to draw inspiration to meet the present and future challenges – from the suffragettes and the Match Girl strikers, to the Poplar Rates Rebels and the Dagenham Ford strikers, to the mass movements that confronted racism and drove the far right off our streets.

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We need this indomitable spirit now more than ever. East London has made me who I am, and has shaped my life and my politics. After four decades of activism, my passion for east London remains not just undiminished but has increased over time and I will give everything I can to it over my term in office.

The close Newham mayoral referendum result reflected polarised opinions among the voters. As I said in 2002, the will of the people has to be respected, whatever politicians' views on governance models.

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We must also bring the borough together to address the issues that led to the referendum being called: most residents are not bothered about structures but about good service delivery. I will be doing what I can to help from City Hall.

And the real work of the new term has begun: with Stephen Timms MP, I have met residents from Waterside Park about cladding and fire safety, which is currently a major issue across the constituency. More on this in my next column.

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