An extract from Nickie Aiken MP's interview today with Catherine Neilan for City A.M.
At times during last month’s General Election, City A.M. readers could be forgiven for thinking it was taking place in a different country.
For much of the campaign the focus was far from London, with frontbenchers and their battle buses taking them through the midlands and the north as Labour and Tories fought it out for the so-called Red Wall.
The Conservatives’ successful gambit, which has returned Boris Johnson to Number 10 with an 80-seat majority, means the government is now committed to investing outside the M25.
Sajid Javid’s first Budget, scheduled for 11 March, is expected to see a raft of measures aimed at “levelling-up” the economy, with an emphasis on projects and investment away from London.
Some Tory MPs have told City A.M. of concerns that this could present challenges for the cluster of them in London and the commuter belt, where the result in December was markedly different to the rest of the country — for example losing Putney to Labour and Richmond Park to the Lib Dems.
But the new MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Nickie Aiken —who actually increased the Tory majority despite going up against Lib Dems’ supposed star candidate Chuka Umunna — believes the country can and must move forward as one.
“We’ve got to move away from this ‘us and them’ mentality,” she says in her first interview since arriving in parliament.
“It’s about UK plc… The City is the engine of UK plc, but it needs all the other elements to create a Rolls Royce. I do think ministers get that, but my job is to remind them of it.”