Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith backed has Crossrail 2, called for more tax powers for City Hall, and promised to get more institutional investors funding housing development in his first major speech as the Conservative candidate for London mayor today.
Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Goldsmith said Labour's "search for a mayoral candidate was vicious and divisive", while the Tory contest was "civilised and constructive".
Goldsmith was announced as the Conservative candidate last week, commanding more than 70 per cent of the vote following an online ballot. His main opponent, Sadiq Khan, won Labour's primary last month, edging out the perceived favourite, Dame Tessa Jowell.
Goldsmith told delegates at the Tory conference it was "clearly essential" that Crossrail 2 gets the "green light".
He also said London should "keep more of its revenue", pointing out that while New York retains half the taxes it raises, London holds onto just 7 per cent of tax revenues.
Vowing to redevelop brownfield land, Goldsmith, a noted environmentalist, said: "We can build the homes London needs, without destroying the green spaces we love."
He said that as mayor he would set up a new land commission to identify all publicly-owned brownfield land in the capital, while setting up a fund "designed specifically to attract big institutional investors".
"Our capital city is seen as a safe bet for investors," Goldsmith said.
"We can close the doors to outside investors, which is what the Labour party wants to do. Or we can capture that finance and use it to build the homes we need on publicly-owned land."
Meanwhile, Khan quickly criticised Goldsmith's speech, saying the Tory candidate was in "complete denial" and that the Conservatives have "made London's housing crisis many times worse."
Khan challenged Goldsmith to reject the government's housing bill, which extends the right to buy programme. Khan called the legislation an "assault on London" that will "make it harder for Londoners to buy or rent a home."
"Anyone serious about representing London must vote against it," Khan said.