The Thick of It

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Re-open the race for London mayor candidate?

Today Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian argues that Labour should re-open the short-list for candidates to become Labour's next mayoral candidate. He cites the Tory example when Boris Johnson came into the race late as evidence as to why Labour should wait.

Why does Labour need to find someone other than Ken Livingstone and Oona King? Freedland argues that Livingstone is tarnished by having been Labour's London head for three decades and has made too many enemies. That could be true. He argues that Oona is damaged by her vote for the Iraq war. I'd argue that not to be relevant to the London mayor though I suspect that some will.

Freedland goes on to say: "If Labour bided its time, other candidates might emerge". I don't think that is likely. He mentions Alans Sugar and Johnson. Johnson ruled himself out and Sugar has shown little interest. I'm sure that the Labour Party would have explored these possibilities before setting the timetable. 


With an empty chair at the top of the party and a new Tory government getting away with far too much Labour needs to make some appointments quickly. The sooner an a Labour candidate can start holding Boris Johnson's rather pointless mayoralty to account the better. London Labour members have a clear choice too. That is between the same man who has won and lost for Labour in the last thirty years and a new candidate. Regular readers will know that I'm opting for the new. 

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