Who are you?
I am the executive mayor of the London Borough of Croydon. I am proud to say that I am the first elected mayor in this role having been voted in two years ago. It is a four-year term and I intend to run for a second term in 2026.

What was your first job in London?
I had a holiday job for a small marketing/mail order business in South Norwood. I remember a lot of Mills & Boon books being packed and sent out – I don’t recall reading any though!

Before I entered the political world full time I worked in the family business supplying the construction industry.

Which one achievement over the last 12 months are you most proud of, and why?
I inherited a very challenging situation in Croydon – to put it mildly. We have made progress in a number of areas, particularly though in planning where we are striving to achieve what we term ‘design over density’ and put character first for residents and businesses.
I am also proud of our year as the London Borough of Culture during which we celebrated Croydon’s unique identity, diverse communities and rich heritage and creativity including famous faces from the borough like Stormzy and Raye

If you were advising a young entrepreneur which business person would you suggest as a model?
Lord Sugar. I find his rise from market stall to what he has now achieved truly inspirational.

How do you think the transport system in London can be improved?
The tram network in our area of the capital has been a great success but we need continuing investment and new stock. Longer waiting times for the trams tempt passengers to go back to their cars.

It is also the case that outer London boroughs like Croydon need orbital routes so we can connect better. Getting into the centre of the capital is fine but travelling around the outer ring is a problem.

Which piece of red tape causes most problems for your company and why?
Maybe it’s not a red tape issue but I would like to see more devolution to London borough leaders and more direct funding. Recently, pothole money has been paid directly to boroughs and this has worked well. More of this please!

What is your favourite and least favourite thing about London?
It is such a fantastic city. The architecture, entertainment venues, parks, quality of life … the list is a long one – and Croydon has its share of attractions too.

Least favourite? I don’t like the Underground tube experience – I would much rather be above ground seeing the sights and hearing the sounds of London!

If you were Mayor of London for the day which one thing would you change?
I would Scrap ULEZ. It is affecting residents and businesses who can least afford it. And, for the outer boroughs especially, it is stopping trade coming in.

Who would you consider an appropriate person to play you in a movie of your life?
Michael Keaton. He’s a brilliant actor and I thought he was superb in The Founder playing Ray Kroc, the man behind McDonalds. By the way, the McDonalds’ franchises in Croydon are run by one man – Ian Stephenson – who is a great role model having worked his way up from cooking fries to running the business.

What is your favourite quotation?
“You may think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment”. It goes with the diplomatic nature of my job!

www.croydon.gov.uk