Election ’24: Asking our candidates to support cycling in Newham

There was a General Election in the UK on Thursday 4th July 2024. We wrote to many of Newham’s candidates in the election, to ask them to support active travel if they’re elected.

Our Asks

We asked our MP candidates to:

  • recognise the importance of cycling, in addition to walking and wheeling, and support it to reach London’s 2030 Net Zero target; also to support London in bringing forward the Vision Zero target to 2030
  • help the Mayor and the London boroughs complete the Strategic Cycling Network by 2028, ahead of the 2041 target—for which there must be more transport funding, and more of it ring-fenced for cycling
  • advocate in Parliament to move national policy away from new roads to active travel—because it’s not prudent to throw £billions after schemes like the PFI-funded Silvertown Tunnel, and other cities and towns across the UK can learn from London’s cycling success story.
Read the entire text of our email to the candidates here.

We’re Newham Cyclists, part of the London Cycling Campaign. We are volunteers who campaign for safer cycling in Newham for everyone, and to break down barriers that stop people from cycling.

Thanks for standing to represent [your constituency] in the general election. We’re asking you to support our mission if you are elected, by:

  • Recognising the importance of cycling, along with walking and wheeling (“active travel”) and supporting it. Active travel projects will help London meet its target of Net Zero by 2030. Of course, not all car journeys in London can be cycled—but TfL analysis suggests lots of them can, if the conditions are made right.

    We also want to see the Vision Zero target brought forward to 2030—saving lives by eliminating serious crashes on our streets. We want you to support TfL and the boroughs in rolling out innovative, proven-safe junction designs; and support the police in renewing focus on reducing harm in road transport.
  • Helping the Mayor and every London borough complete the Strategic Cycling Network by 2028, ahead of the current 2041 target date, to help all kinds of Londoners everywhere to access cycling. To deliver this, London needs more transport funding, and more of it ring-fenced for active travel.
  • Advocating in Parliament to shift national transport policy away from new roads to active travel schemes. It’s not prudent to throw £billions of public money after schemes that shave minutes off car journeys (such as the PFI-funded Silvertown Tunnel.) By contrast, active travel projects are cheap, have a good return on investment, and help bring communities together. Other towns and cities across Britain can learn from London’s cycling success story. We want you to work with the Mayor and other metro regions to secure a future where walking, cycling, and high-quality public transport are viable everywhere.

Finally, we remind you that despite noisy opposition to some of the Mayor of London’s policies on active travel and reducing unnecessary car use, he’s been re-elected with a large mandate. Cycling is very popular, and candidates that deliver for cycling get re-elected.

No-one wins, least of all drivers, when transport policy is driven by culture wars. Active travel is cheap and convenient, and we truly believe that everyone can benefit if it’s taken seriously. From kids going to school, to retirees meeting friends, to shift workers going shopping after a long day—we ask you to fight for policies that help more people access cycling for more journeys. A cycling Britain is a stronger Britain.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on our asks.

The Candidates’ Responses

We emailed the candidates on the morning of Saturday 22 June, and updated this post as we received responses.

There were also a number of candidates for whom we were not able to find email addresses.

This page was last updated on Sun 7th July 2024 at 22:57, to add a (post-election) response from Sir Stephen Timms, and to indicate which candidates were elected. The candidates appear on the page in a random order.

Stratford and Bow

ConservativesKane Blackwell[unable to find email]
LabourUma Kumaran
[no response received]
GreenJoe Hudson-Small“I agree completely with your aims, and with ending the culture war against active travel.

We’d invest 2.5bn in new cycleways and footpaths including London and we would adopt Active Travel England’s target for 2030.
If elected I’ll push for all of these things.”

[The candidate also supplied a link to the Green Party manifesto.]
Workers PartyHalima Khan[unable to find email]
Liberal DemocratsJaney Little[unable to find email]

East Ham

Liberal DemocratsHillary Victoria Briffa[unable to find email]
ConservativesMaria Higson[no response received]
LabourSir Stephen Timms
[received on Sunday 7th July, after the election]
“I apologise for failing to respond on this. I found I just didn’t know enough about the specifics to judge whether bringing things forward to 2028 from 2041 made sense, and I also have not opposed the Silvertown Tunnel. I shall, however, be very happy to support the work of Newham Cyclists, and please do let me know if you feel I can help at any time.”
GreenRosie Pearce“I too am a local cyclist though not part of your organisation. 
I used to live in Groningen which shows a vision of how behaviour shifts can follow bold policy on cycling. You wouldn’t even take a taxi if you bought furniture there.
Cycling in London is a bit scary often, and it varies a lot by borough.
The green party is aiming for 50% of journeys within towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030.
Investment in segregated cycle paths is a must, to achieve this, I think – most people won’t feel confident enough to cycle with current infrastructure and who can blame them!”

West Ham and Beckton

GreenRob Callender“As a cyclist living in Newham, I fully support all this!”
TUSCLois Austin[no response received]
LabourJames Asser [elected]“As I am sure Newham Cyclists are aware I am a supporter of increasing active travel and giving people choice especially increasing opportunities to walk and cycle. 

I hope my record as the Environment & Transport lead at Newham Council speaks to my commitment to deliver on that belief. I am very proud of the work we achieved and hope if elected I can support my successors in the continuing work.

I hope too that the work started during my time jn [sic] office on making our roads safer speaks for itself. 

Tackling air pollution and dealing with climate change are going to be key issues in the years ahead and I am keen to play my part in driving forward the changes we need to make.”
ConservativesHolly Ramsey[no response received]
Newham IndependentsSophia Naqvi[unable to find email]
Liberal DemocratsEmily Bigland[no response received]

Where’s my candidate?

As volunteers who juggle campaigning with our other commitments (full time jobs, families, etc.) we simply did not have the time or capacity to approach every single candidate for MP—particularly where their contact details were not publicly available.

We sourced email addresses for the candidates on https://whocanivotefor.co.uk but only emailed addresses that were clearly candidate-specific, rather than general party inboxes. Candidates who were not listed here were welcome to approach us by email to respond to our asks.

We are within our rights not to seek a view from minor or “fringe” parties which advocate for policies not in line with Newham Cyclists’ or LCC’s terms of reference, objectives, and values. For instance, we would decline to engage with candidates or parties that espouse views that are clearly racist, or peddle conspiracy theories.