The Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor has vowed to fight Brexit and violent crime if she is elected.

Siobhan Benita put forward her case for the 2020 election, saying she believed Brexit and knife crime would resonate most with voters in Waltham Forest and Redbridge.

Ms Benita outlined her plans today (October 11), following a visit to Newport Primary School in Leyton.

She was visiting to congratulate the school on being awarded a ‘gold’ Unicef Rights Respecting Award.

The award – which has two tiers, gold and silver – recognises schools for putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into practice.

Ashley Perridge, head teacher of Newport – which is one of three Waltham Forest schools to achieve a gold award – said the achievement was down to the hard work of the children and the staff.

Addressing pupils, Siobhan Benita said: “I am very proud of what you do, and I am sure you are all very proud of what you do and your amazing school.”

After the award ceremony, Ms Benita spoke with the East London Guardian to put forward her case to be Mayor of London.

Ms Benita insists she is not in the race to make up numbers and believes she has a strong chance of success running for the “strongest pro-remain party”.

Waltham Forest and Redbridge both voted remain in the 2016 referendum and Siobhan believes voters in the boroughs will feel the Liberal Democrats reflect their views more than any other party.

She said: “If we haven’t Brexited [before the mayoral election], and I think there is still a strong possibility we won’t have, we will keep fighting to stop Brexit for as long as possible.

“If we have Brexited, there is going to be a huge number of residents who are incredibly, angry, sad and frustrated, for whom the Liberal Democrats will be the rallying point.”

“The vast majority of Waltham Forest and Redbridge residents understand how beneficial it is for us to be in the European Union. All of our sectors, hospitality, hospitals, construction, rely on the free movement of people and trade with our European partners.”

Ms Benita says the biggest issue, for residents she has canvassed, is violent crime, particularly knife crime.

To address the issue, she is proposing the legalisation and regulation of cannabis.

“There is such a strong link between young people who are exposed to the illegal drugs market and their likelihood of being either a victim or a perpetrator of serious crime”, she said.

“You can get drugs so easily in London and they are being controlled by violent gangs and vulnerable young people are getting pulled into that criminal activity.

“Let’s remove the power from drugs gangs and let’s have a legalised market.”

Ms Benita is also proposing a ‘youth happy hour’ running after school, before parents come home, between 4pm – 6pm.

The plan would see youth clubs and organisations coordinating to open their doors to youngsters for free and safe activities between 4pm and 6pm – when they are most vulnerable to involvement in crime as either a perpetrator or victim.

She said: “I know there are hundred of organisations, volunteers, faith groups, and charities, who want to help and they don’t know how to come together and maximise their collective efforts.

“As mayor you can’t just be saying I can’t do it because the money isn’t available, you have to use a bit of creativity. This is urgent, our young people are dying.”

Ms Benita also pledged to develop community policing in schools to build a positive vision in young people of the police as a service rather than a force.