Who is Dan Korski? Tory mayoral contender denies groping ITV producer at Downing Street

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  • June 27, 2023
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Goodwin claimed in The Times that the Conservative mayoral candidate groped her during a meeting to discuss a potential new show.

According to Goodwin, they originally met at a social event and he suggested they meet again. She claimed that Mr Korski “put his feet on the edge of my chair, leaning back so that I could get a clear view of his crotch”.

Goodwin explained: “When we both stood up at the end of the meeting and went to the door, the spad stepped towards me and suddenly put his hand on my breast. Astonished, I said loudly, ‘Are you really touching my breast?’ The spad sprang away from me and I left.”

Following the claims, a representative for Mr Korski told The Times: “In the strongest possible terms, Dan categorically denies any allegation of inappropriate behaviour whatsoever.”

Who is Dan Korski?

One of the three contenders in the race to become the Tory mayoral candidate, Mr Korski is competing against Susan Hall and Moz Hossain for the Tory nomination, with a winner due to be announced on July 19.

He previously outlined a series of potential policies that he would introduce if he wins the keys to City Hall. In an interview with the Evening Standard, he described Labour mayor Sadiq Khan as a “doom-meister” who talked London down, and said he wanted to bring energy and optimism to his bid to become mayor.

Mr Korski, 46, said the Ulez extension “has to be junked” and also promised a review of cycle superhighways and potentially requiring a “confirmatory vote” of residents before new low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes are made permanent.

Mr Korski said: “I think my chances are good. The bookies are saying that I’m the new favourite. But it’s down to the Conservative party and their members. I’m hopeful but I take nothing for granted.

“I think that this city is tired of Sadiq Khan. They think he has mismanaged the city. They want a different kind of politics and a different kind of leadership in City Hall. I don’t think that is to do with party colour or where they live in the city. They want somebody who has a track record and ideally hasn’t been tainted by London politics to come and fix it.”

Moz Hossain, Susan Hall and Dan Korski

/ ES Composite

He has never held elected office, having been neither an MP nor councillor. He compared himself to Andy Street, the Tory mayor of West Midlands, who had never been elected before winning two successive terms.

Asked to describe his back story, Mr Korski said he was Jewish and was born in Denmark but of Polish heritage.

His parents were “kicked out of Communist Poland” in the 1960s. He came to London in 1997. He had visited London as a 10-year-old and was “overawed”. He lives in Primrose Hill with his wife and children.

“I’m an immigrant,” he said. “I’m a child of refugees. In that way, I think I’m a 21st century Londoner. I sound like what London is today.”

He was deputy head of policy in Downing St when David Cameron was Prime Minister.

“Every policy issue, from health to energy, from transport to defence issues, crosses your desk before it goes to the Prime Minister – or the Prime Minister asks for your advice on a range of these issues,” he said.

“In the course of my time in Downing St, I really was able to cover the range of issues. We had the Libya conflict. We had the first phase of the Ukraine war in 2014, when we put forward a package of sanctions against Vladimir Putin, which I worked on.

“The other thing we worked on was legalising same-sex marriage, which is something I’m hugely proud of.”

In the Brexit referendum, he was “on the Remain side of the argument”. He left Downing St seven years ago with an “itch to build businesses”.

Shortlisted: Dan Korski

/ Supplied

While in Downing Street, some press coverage portrayed him as a “fixer” who could be “abrasive”. He lobbied for Uber in a dispute with Transport for London.

“I think it’s wonderful if people think of you as a fixer. I ought to probably fix more things, including in my own house.

“But I don’t know if it’s fair to say that I am an abrasive character – I think I’m a very optimistic and collegial and collaborative character.”

He added: “I came from a time in politics when the advisor’s job was to advise, not be at the forefront.”

He is “tired of the way the city is being talked down”, a charge he lays at Mr Khan’s door. “He is a ‘doom-meister’ that spins off his Twitter account more and more negative things about the city for his own political end. I think people are sick and tired of that.”

Asked if he would be happy to be joined by Boris Johnson or Rishi Sunak on the campaign trail, he said: “I would be happy to welcome support from anybody who would like to support the vision that I represent for London – dynamic, exciting, optimistic, where you can build the best life that you possibly can through hard work.”

But might the campaign focus more on him than the Tory party? “At the end of the day, there is only one mayor. I’m putting myself forward and I hope the voters respond to that.”

Asked about the decision of the 24-person shortlisting panel to exclude Minister for London Paul Scully from the final three, he said: “I’m just a horse at the Grand National. I focused on my own race. The starting gun went and I ran – as fast as I could. I was pleased to find that I crossed the finishing line.”

He said the Ulez expansion to Greater London – due to happen on August 29, assuming Mr Khan is not defeated at the High Court, “absolutely has to be junked”.

He said: “The reason is very simple. It’s a money-making initiative. It isn’t intended to really clean the air or address CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. There is a tiny proportion of diesel cars on the road. They will get off the road in the next couple of years anyway. The number is so small it’s simply not credible to believe it has a massive impact on health in the city.

“What the Ulez extension will definitely have an impact on is household budgets. If you are a hardworking family relying on your car having to drive in and out of the city, you might have to spend £1,000 a year to drive in. That may be driving elderly parents to the GP or yourself to work or your kids down to the Aldi. It’s iniquitous and unreasonable and we have to junk the extension.”

Asked how he would clean up London’s air, he said: “How do we spend a limited amount of money to have the greatest impact? Clean up the Tube air, which is far more polluted than anything above ground. Let’s clean up construction sites where diesel generators are creating a much bigger air pollution problem than cars. And let’s not burden people who have to drive in.

“1.5 per cent of all London buses are electrified. Why don’t we start there? Over time people are getting rid of their bangers anyway. Those bangers represent a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny proportion of all emissions.”

He was less keen to expand on previous remarks in which he indicated support for swapping the Ulez for a pay-per-mile road charging scheme.

“Let’s target the most polluting journeys,” he said. “But I don’t mean that people need to be targeted when they drive.

“Start by saying: what are the 10 most polluting journeys in this city? Let’s look at how we can clean those up – trees along the roads, making sure that every bus on that route is electrified, air vents on the side. In Lima, in Peru, they have large ventilators on billboards that suck the pollution out of the air. We have tried none of these innovative methods.”