- Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins wants to replace “waste of time” Sadiq Khan as London mayor.
- Mullins, who was a major Conservative donor, has abandoned the party over its support for Brexit.
- “We’re definitely not drinking from the same teapot,” he says of Theresa May.
- Mullins wants to relax pollution laws, build a third runway at Heathrow, and increase stop and search powers.
LONDON – Charlie Mullins is the charismatic CEO of Pimlico Plumbers, who is probably best known for being one of the most vocal backers of those campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU.
In 2016 he helped finance Gina Miller’s successful attempt to force the government to allow Parliament a vote on Brexit, famously turning up outside the High Court in his £300,000 Bentley.
He was also previously a major donor to the Conservatives but has since abandoned the party over their policy on Brexit. He claims he was barred from the party’s Black and White fundraising ball last year due to his criticism of Theresa May.
“I wanted to stay in the EU and we have had a slight fallout with Theresa. We’re definitely not drinking from the same teapot,” he told Business Insider on Tuesday.
We had a slight fallout with Theresa. We’re definitely not drinking from the same teapot.
Now Mullins has set himself a new challenge, which is to become the next Mayor of London and replace what he calls the “waste of time” incumbent Sadiq Khan.
“I’m not necessarily running for mayor because of Brexit. I’m doing it because I know what’s best for Londoners. At the end of the day, this isn’t about Leave or Remain, it’s about getting the best deal for London,” he said.
He told BI that he had put himself forward to stand in the next mayoral election because he’s a “larger than life figure” who “knows what’s best for Londoners.”
“My voice needs to be heard,” he said.
“It’s [Khan’s time in office] been a waste of time. He’s not powerful enough. You need a larger than life figure.”
He says he would model his own mayoralty on that of Khan’s predecessors in City Hall Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone.
“You had Boris there and people took notice of him. He made great changes. You had Ken Livingstone who wasn’t my cup of tea but people knew him and he was around.”
Throughout our conversation, Mullins appears to feign difficulty in remembering Khan’s name.
“The problem with Sadiq, or whatever you call him, is he sits on the fence too much. He’s not business-orientated. I don’t believe he is a leader. He’s a follower,” he says.
“We need someone more powerful who can make sure London stays the great city it is.”
Tougher on crime, relaxed on pollution
Mullins was scathing of Khan’s record on crime and said as mayor he would bring in tougher measures such as increased stop and search powers for the police and longer prison sentences for those caught carrying a knife.
“I’ve noticed that Sadiq, or whatever his name is, trying to do with knife crime isn’t powerful enough,” he says.
“I think there needs to be longer prison sentences for anyone carrying a knife. We have got to prevent it from happening rather than deal with it once it happens.
“My policy would be, you know, anyone carrying a knife would immediately get a custodial sentence.”
On whether he would like to see more stop and searches, he said: “Well of course. Yes.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to do something about it. Action is needed. There are many things we’d need to do. It’s not gonna stop overnight but Khan isn’t doing enough. He really isn’t.”
Free travel for apprentices
One of Mullins’ flagship policies is to give free travel on London public transport to apprentices who enrol from the year he becomes mayor.
Mullins admitted to BI that the policy isn’t costed. “Well, no. I’m two years away. I’ve just made the decision now but I’ve been thinking about for a while. But I’ve not done the figures if I am honest,” he said.
I’ve not done the figures if I am honest.
However, not only does he believe the policy will encourage more young people to get into work, but will lead to fewer cases of knife crime and acid attacks on the streets of London.
“Whatever it costs, common sense tells me we would save the money through less crime on the street because youngsters who get in trouble haven’t got a job.”
Mullins also said Khan “has gone too far” in his attempts to tackle pollution levels in London.
He said he would reverse the current mayor’s t-charge (toxicity charge) which means drivers of more polluting cars have to pay a daily fee of £10 to enter central London.
“Of course, we’ve got to do something if it’s killing people. But you’ve got remember this pollution has been around a long time,” he said.
“We know the environment is important but Sadiq has pretty much done it overnight. It has got to be done on a steadier basis. What we don’t wanna do is cripple businesses.”
He also revealed that he’d go ahead with long-debated plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport and would address city-centre roadworks by encouraging workers to take on 24-hour shifts.
“The airport is a must. They have been talking about it for years. At the end of the day, anyone with half a brain knows that the better travel arrangements we have in London the busier the economy will be. The airport would happen.
“We need to come up with something on roadworks. We need to come up with a system where we haven’t got all this disruption. Whether that be fines or people working 24 hours. It’s stopping people coming into London.”
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