Damian Hockney is Leader of the free market anti-regulation One London Party on the London Assembly. His group has often stood against all the other groups, for example in challenging the consensus about expansion for Heathrow (he supports it) and adding to spending commitments. On the Metropolitan Police Authority he has been a firm opponent of longer detention for suspects and of restrictions on demonstrating.
The experience of his background in business as a publisher of consumer beauty magazines often adds colour to his political observations and he frequently refers at the London Assembly to specific business and outside issues which he feels that politicians do not understand. Although his group claims to have voted against mayoral proposals more often than any other, he has nevertheless on occasion supported the Mayor. On grounds of freedom of speech, he alone refused to vote for the Mayor’s suspension from office at the time of the Mayor’s comments about Standard journalist Oliver Feingold. “The Mayor hasn’t been found guilty of breaking any laws. No quango should suspend him from office,” was his comment.
He is a Londoner with family in London, Scotland and Barbados. He entered politics in 1997 as a candidate for the Referendum Party, achieving the party’s highest vote in the North West of England. He twice contested the Kensington & Chelsea constituency for UKIP, and founded the One London Group at the London Assembly with Peter Hulme-Cross in 2006. He stood as a candidate in the 2000 Mayoral election, and was elected in 2004 to the London Assembly. “I just don’t think that enough room is given for coverage of real world issues as they affect those who provide jobs and wealth,” he says.
He believes that ‘being heard’ is the greatest challenge today in politics: “If we had Ginger Spice, Alma Cogan or OJ Simpson as our Mayoral candidate we’d be on the front page every day and that is a worry,” he says. “Policy has given way to spectacle and celebrity and the public is more intelligent than this and deserves better. They don’t only understand a transport initiative if Ginger Spice is draped all over the bonnet.”