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Over the last few months more and more London Conservatives – and some from further afield – have asked me to run for Mayor of London. Why?

Because I can win, because I break the mould, and because I reach out beyond the party’s traditional base.

Labour’s tired old mantra about class, wealth and privilege just doesn’t work against Syed Kamall. In Britain’s most diverse and youngest city, that is hugely important.

David Cameron has just won a stunning election victory, but London is one place where our party struggled. London needs a different kind of candidate, someone who voters right across the capital can see understands their experiences and shares their values.

I was born in London, grew up in London, and am bringing up my family here in London.

My experience is the experience of so many Londoners.

I know what it’s like to save up for a deposit for your first home while having your income gobbled up by rent.

I know what it’s like to not get on your train and have to wait for the next one because of overcrowding.

And I know what it’s like when you report a crime and no-one seems interested in following it up.

But for all the challenges facing Londoners, I am incredibly proud that our city is the greatest city in the world. Because at its heart London is a city of ambition, a city of opportunity and a city of enterprise.

These are London’s values and they are my values too.

I am here today because of my family’s ambition. My father came to Britain in the 1950s to work on the railways, then drove a London bus.

My parents told me that there is no limit to what you can achieve if you believe in yourself and work hard. My father used to say “I don’t want you to work for London Transport, I want you to run London Transport.” The other night I said to him that I could end up as the boss of the man or woman who runs London transport!

Now that’s ambition and a real London story.

But in order for some people to achieve their ambition, they first need the opportunity.

I believe opportunity should be available to you whether you come from a privileged or a less wealthy background.

As the MEP for London, I have championed projects giving opportunities to local communities. I launched my campaign at Regenerate, a community charity turning former gang members and drug dealers into entrepreneurs. As the T-shirt says: “From dope dealers to hope dealers”. All they want is to be introduced to potential customers for their sandwich business.

Or consider Clean Sheet, getting jobs for former offenders by breaking the circle of offending, prison and re-offending. They asked me to put them in touch with potential employers.

Or the New Addington jobs club, which has found jobs for 100 local people where the local job centre had failed. Jane, who runs it, simply wanted second hand computers and a filing cabinet.

None of these projects want a handout from the state, just as my parents taught to try to avoid handouts if I could.

When my father went to the bank in the 1960s to buy a home, the bank manager told him, “Mr Kamall, take your money and go on holiday. Ask the council for a house.” He refused since it was his ambition to buy a home for his family.

We need to find more ways for Londoners who work hard to have the opportunity to also have a place of their own.

Let’s work with developers to overcome barriers they face in building homes, and release land from the landbanks of TfL, GLA and local authorities to build more homes.

Let’s find enterprising solutions such as those suggested by Create Streets to build well designed but higher density homes.

We have some of the brightest financial brains in London, so let’s harness their skills to come up with innovative mortgages allowing rent to buy or shared ownership schemes.

Championing approaches like these to the challenges of ordinary Londoners shows our capital – and conservatism – at its best.

Encouraging enterprise, rewarding ambition, widening opportunity: these have always been Conservative values. Let’s show London those values in action.

Syed Kamall is an MEP for London and is campaigning to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.