THE new London Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon says his role as a GP helped him focus on issues that matter to voters.
Dr Onkar Sahota took the Labour party to victory, ousting Conservative Richard Barnes who had held the seat for 12 years. It meant that Mr Barnes, a councillor in Hillingdon, also lost his job as Boris Johnson’s deputy mayor.
Mr Sahota, of Southall, said: “I’m delighted and also humbled that the electorate has put their confidence in me.
“We were touching on the issues important to the electorate so I was confident we had a good chance of winning. As a practising doctor, I can see the effects of the cuts on people's lives, the changes in the welfare system and other austerity measures.”
He said the political debate needs to be focused more on growing the economy rather than austerity.
“I know there’s also concern about the reorganisation of the NHS and the impacts on Ealing and Central Middlesex hospitals, concerns about the Southall Gasworks site as well as High Speed Two,” he added.
The father-of-three said he would continue working as a doctor but reduce his hours.
Dr Sahota won by about 3,000 votes on Friday, receiving 65,584 to Mr Barnes’ 62,474.
Mike Cox, candidate for the Liberal Democrats, came third with 11,805, while the Green Party’s Mike Harling was fourth with 10,877. The voter turn-out was 37 per cent.
Richard Barnes was one of two Conservatives to lose their seats on the London Assembly.
Asked why he thought he lost, he said: “It’s democracy, he got more votes than I did. I haven’t sat down and done an analysis. I’ve switched off and having a rest for a few days. It’s time to reflect now.”
When asked whether he would stand again, he said: “Lord only knows, it’s four years away.”
Labour candidates also ousted a Liberal democrat and the only BNP member, giving them 12 seats in the 25-seat assembly.
The Conservatives now have nine and the Lib Dems and the Greens have two members each.