THE newest member of the City’s Court of Common Council says he wants to use his authority to “change lives”.
Benjamin Murphy triumphed in last week’s Bishopsgate by-election with the lion’s share of the votes (112), beating out former councillor Patrick Streeter (35) and Timothy Ecker (18) to claim a seat vacated by Pooja Suri Tank just six months after the City-wide elections.
Former Mayor of Epping Forest Mr Murphy says his previous experience in office will hold him in good stead as he joins Simon Duckworth, Wendy Hyde, Andrew Mayer, Prem Goyal, Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, and Tom Sleigh as an elected representative for the ward.
“For me, politics is the process of drawing people together from lots of different backgrounds and views and agreeing a way forward in the best interests of the people
they are elected to represent,” he told City Matters.
“Electors should hold their representatives to account and be willing to engage and help where possible. Having detailed knowledge of public services and the associated regulations and laws which council’s must navigate and comply with in their course of business is important too.
I genuinely believe there is no problem in this great City we cannot overcome by working together collectively with the brightest minds.”
Following a survey of his electorate, top of Mr Murphy’s agenda are homelessness, air quality, and Brexit. Despite being just one of 110 voices on the council, the new face is convinced he can deliver the change he has promised during his election campaign, even if the finer aspects of his action plan are yet to be ironed out.
“It’s too early to give detailed plans, but I am already engaged and working with multiple agencies on each of these key issues, ensuring the appropriate resources are being deployed to deliver progress.”
On a personal level Mr Murphy is looking forward to adding his name to a historical order that, from the outside looking in, may appear inaccessible to most.
“The City of London has so many unique historic traditions it can seem somewhat overwhelming to navigate,” he admits.
“The terminology, the uniforms and dress requirements, and the resources of this authority are certainly unique, but equally that is what makes it so special.
“In addition, the role the City has to play on behalf of the financial services industry globally, and the wider relationship with the livery companies promoting excellence in trade and commerce, is fascinating.”
But ultimately it is people that Mr Murphy says he puts above all else, and stressed his desire to reach out to as many constituents as possible during his time in office.
He said: “I stood for election because I see a number of issues which could be life-changing for so many people and I wanted to do something to help.
“In our respective professions, we must all deliver results and measure the impact of our actions, and that’s what I would like to see more of in the City of London.
“At the moment I can see a huge amount of work being done in some areas, but the actual impact is minimal.
“We have to be innovative to create sustainable solutions to deep and complex problems in our society, but I have no doubt we can and will overcome them by working together.”