Why winning doesn’t matter for the London Mayoral candidate who wants to rejoin the EU

By Declan Carey

LONDON Mayoral candidate Richard Hewison doesn’t care about winning in May’s election.

The former Labour, Lib Dem, and Green Party member is only focused on giving a voice to pro-Europe Londoners and putting pressure on Labour and the Conservatives.

For many, the Brexit battle is well and truly over – but Hewison, 53, is standing for the Rejoin EU Party, with support from Volt UK.

Redaction Politics recently announced that Volt UK, who support the Rejoin EU Party, are fielding candidates in the Scottish Parliament election in May, an area of the UK which voted heavily in favour of remain.

London offers the same opportunity for Rejoin EU as Scotland, according to Hewison, who argued Londoners have not had any of the main opposition parties representing their voice since Britain voted to leave in 2016.

He told Redaction Politics: “At the moment, we see the main opposition parties running away from the issue of Brexit as fast as possible.

“Am I going to win? No. Am I going to get the five percent to keep my deposit? No. Neither of those things really matter.

“Getting awareness, getting the fact that we exist into the homes of 3.2 million Londoners is the most important objective I have.”

Recent polls show that Sadiq Khan is set to comfortably win re-election with around half of the vote, with Conservative Shaun Bailey garnering a quarter.

While the Greens and the Liberal Democrats – two fellow pro-Remain parties – will hope to reach double digits, it’s a tough ask to make your voice heard among the 20-strong candidate field.

As a gay working class man – and a Londoner of 28 years – he became involved in politics while fighting for better rights for the LGBTQIA+ community in the 1980s, a movement he now believes is facing a similar struggle for transgender rights today.

“I realised that if you are in a democratic society, and nobody is standing up for your rights, you have to stand up for your own rights,” he said.

“The other set of rights that have been removed is all the rights we had by membership of the European Union.

“I myself greatly enjoyed those rights over my life and I see my children having those taken away from them.”

Hewison offers a rare sense of openness and willingness to accept that politics is not all about winning.

The Rejoin EU Party is fairly new, and believes that losing elections offers just as much opportunity to bring about change as winning.

Hewison explained how one of the UK’s most well known Euro-sceptics, Nigel Farage, is a person his party can learn from.

“I certainly believe that you should always learn from the mistakes of your allies and the successes of your enemies,” Hewison said.

“We may be adopting some of the same tactics, but hoping that the center of gravity maybe pulls things back a little bit in the other direction, that would certainly be a successful outcome.”

After 47 years of EU membership, Britain cut ties with Europe in January this year after the end of what was known as the transition period, a time when EU rules still applied while the UK’s relationship with the bloc was being decided.

Since then, there have been both positive and frightening repercussions. Britain’s vaccine rollout is one of the best in the world, arguably due to its new-found ability to control its borders and laws.

On the other hand, a recent spark of unrest in Northern Ireland, an area once known for sectarian clashes and terror attacks, shows tension is building on the Island of Ireland which was a focal point during Brexit negotiations.

Any effort to eventually rejoin the EU would take years, says Hewison, who believes whatever happens in the future, Britain will never be able to go back to how things were pre-2016.

“I’d love to have everything back the way it was that that’s not going to happen,” he said.

“40 years of negotiations, you can’t just say, Oh, come on, should we just forget the last five years and go back? No.

“It’s going to be a long, hard process, getting back to fully rejoin the EU.

“I will always want us to rejoin the EU, and once we rejoin the EU, I’m going to be campaigning for the EU to be a lot better than it currently is.”

Featured Image: Courtesy of campaign

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