Liberal Democrat candidate Caroline Pidgeon has claimed that the lack of “big characters” in this year’s London mayoral race has thrown her into the frame to be elected in May.

Surrey Comet:

Caroline Pidgeon faces Labour's Sadiq Khan and the Conservatives' Zac Goldsmith in the race to become the next London mayor

We met the London Assembly member for a cup of coffee while campaigning in Tolworth, where she lamented the impact of a Conservative administration in central and local government in Kingston.

Over the last five years, the Liberal Democrats’ decline has been particularly reflected in Kingston, where both a Lib Dem council and MP have been displaced by the Conservatives.

Friday, February 5: Zac Goldsmith brands Sadiq Khan 'lazy' over affordable housing debate when out on Kingston campaign trail

Wednesday, October 7, 2015: London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan "listening to the arguments" to rezone Kingston and Surbiton

In Richmond the party lost veteran MP Vince Cable and suffered a heavy blow in council elections. But in Sutton the Lib Dems remain a force to be reckoned with, despite losing one of two Parliamentary seats.

Ms Pidgeon insists that the campaign trail has taught her sunnier skies lie ahead for her and her party.

She said: “I’m not an outsider, we haven’t got any big characters like Boris or Ken running. Londoners are fed up of hearing words that mean nothing when you analyse them.

“Ultimately people are fed up with people with big egos going for these roles and what they actually want is just someone who’s not running to be something but running to do something.

“Some things I’m saying are quite controversial. Not everyone will like them, but they know where I stand. It’s really important to have radical things to say.”

Amongst others, her policies include a levy on diesel vehicles in central London and a £2 tourist tax on upmarket hotels.

In what she acknowledges is London’s biggest issue, Ms Pidgeon also pledged to kick-start a “home-building revolution” through a continuation of the Olympics tax to help build social housing.

The Olympics precept levied on council tax recently ended, mitigating rate rises introduced by several south London councils in their 2015-16 budgets.

She said: “I’ve got a plan for an Olympic effort to build the housing that we need in London. I’m looking to build 200,000 homes over the four year mayoral term.

“The difference between me and the other candidates is that one in four of those homes - 50,000 - would be what I call affordable homes, genuinely affordable social housing.”

A constant cause of debate in Kingston has proved to be not just building more homes, but also finding sites to build on.

Just last week a planning application to build 705 homes on the Toby Jug site in Hook Rise South was rejected by Kingston Council – just a few hundred metres away from where we were sitting.

Surrey Comet:

In the last five years the Liberal Democrats have lost control of the council in Kingston and veteran MPs Ed Davey and Vince Cable

Ms Pidgeon added: “There are ways you can build homes and some of the quantity you need without building these huge high-rise monstrosities. It got to be in keeping with areas and it’s got to be high quality design.

“I wouldn’t build on the greenbelt, it’s served us well in terms of protecting us from flooding and things like that in London.”

The Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservative Party’s Zac Goldsmith remain the clear favourites in the race, but Ms Pidgeon her experience can still carry her over the line.

She said: “I’ve got the experience of negotiating with government. But equally I’ve got eight years on the London Assembly, I know City Hall inside out and I’ve been working for Londoners for the last eight years day-in day-out.

“When I go out on the doorsteps and when I go out on the high streets of London, I’m talking to ordinary Londoners who may or may not have heard of me.

“When I talk to them about the issues they like what we’re saying, they’re refreshed to have a female candidate who is serious about London.”