The Tory hopeful looking to oust Sadiq Khan from City Hall next year has thrown his weight behind an extension of Crossrail through Bexley and out to Ebbsfleet.

Shaun Bailey spoke yesterday to our local democracy reporter outlining his policies on crime, housing and transport as election campaigns get under way.

Mr Bailey, who was selected as the Tory choice for mayor last autumn, has pledged to tackle waste at City Hall, to boost the police force and yesterday backed an extension of Crossrail.

The Conservative candidate was speaking off the back of a weekend trip to Bexley and Bromley, where he said people were concerned about surging levels of crime.

“Crime is talked about like it’s an inner London thing, but Bexley has had a massive rise in robberies on its high streets,” said Mr Bailey, a former parliamentary candidate for Lewisham West and Penge.

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“Crime is spreading and has gone beyond its normal borders.

“I have a crime action plan which has a zero-tolerance approach. There is money now in City Hall that could deliver 1,800 extra police and 800 of those should be detectives so we are catching people and prosecuting them.”

Mr Bailey, a member of the London Assembly, which scrutinises the mayor, has criticised Sadiq Khan for planning to raise the staff compliment in City Hall, which Mr Bailey said would be halted to fund extra cops.

Mr Khan recently hit out at the government demanding more funding for the police after Chancellor Philip Hammond said police should re-evaluate priorities rather than expect future handouts.

Speaking of the mayor’s draft London Plan, which sets out housing targets for London boroughs that some councils – such as Bexley and Bromley – believe are damaging, Mr Bailey said: “Of course we want to provide housing for local people, but the plan is too descriptive.

“It cuts councils out too much, it doesn’t ask councils how they want to deliver on their local priorities – that is something I would change around. I believe we have enough brownfield sites not to have to build skyscrapers.

“The mayor removed targets for family housing and it means places like Bexley and Bromley become really important to provide family housing.

“If those houses are replaced by two-bedroom flats you are building the ghettos of tomorrow, the overcrowding of tomorrow. It’s important to protect the building styles of how outer boroughs like Bexley and Bromley look.”

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Mr Bailey, who has lived in Maze Hill, grew up in a council house and says he would demand more affordable housing, calling it a “social mobility issue.”

Speaking of Crossrail – which has already been delayed, and looks likely for further pushbacks, the Tory candidate said: “I think it is necessary to bring it to Ebbsfleet and should I be mayor I would be pushing for that.

“It opens up housing in a way that we want so we are not building skyscrapers, it gives you a long enough transport link that you can build little towns and villages people aspire to live in. You can lower the cost because you can open up so much land.

“I really would push to make it happen.”

The candidate also hit out at the expansion of the ultra-low emission zone, which will split Greenwich, calling it an “attack on the poorest people”, adding that cleaning up buses would be a better alternative to cleaning up London’s air.

Sadiq Khan has previously said Mr Bailey is “on the wrong side of history” over air pollution, and that he is “playing politics with Londoners’ lives”.

Mr Bailey’s mayoral campaign got off to a rocky start, hitting the headlines over several controversial historic comments that emerged on topics such as multi-culturalism and benefits.

Speaking of a link between Universal Credit and foodbank usage – which has been documented in Bexley with a three-fold increase, and for which Greenwich partly upped its council tax to combat, Mr Bailey said: “My answer to this is decent employment in London.

“When you look at poorer communities, do you give them benefits or do you give them employment. For those who can work, let’s get the jobs – it’s much more sustainable. For those few people who need proper social support, let’s then do that as well.”

The mayoral election is on May 7, 2020.