Who will Labour's 2016 London mayoral candidate be?

David Lammy, Sadiq Khan, Diane Abbott and the other runners and riders.

Labour declared today that Boris Johnson's "2020 Vision" was "the beginning of his long goodbye" to London (the Mayor again confirmed that he won't be running for a third term) but who is the party likely to put forward for City Hall in 2016? Here's who's currently in the running.  

David Lammy

After choosing not to stand in 2012 (he wrote that he "thought hard about whether to enter the contest"), the Tottenham MP has quickly established himself as one of the frontrunners for the Labour nomination, recently publishing a lengthy critique of Boris's record. As Ken's campaign chair in 2012 he can count on the support of many of the former mayor's supporters and his well-received book on the riots Out of the Ashes further enhanced his reputation. 

Diane Abbott

Asked last month by Mumsnet whether she would consider standing, the Hackney North MP mischievously replied: "I am not ruling it in or out smile" Since becoming shadow public health minister she has shed her maverick image and is increasingly rated in Labour circles. 

Sadiq Khan

The shadow justice secretary has long been rumoured to be considering a bid and was recently appointed shadow minister for London, putting him in a strong position to win the nomination. As MP for Tooting since 2005 and a Wandsworth councillor for 12 years (1994-2006) he has long-standing links with the capital.

Stella Creasy

Since her election in 2010, the Walthamstow MP has impressed many in the party with her campaigns on knife crime and payday loan companies. Likely to be promoted to the shadow cabinet in the forthcoming reshuffle, she is a good outside bet for the nomination. 

Oona King

Despite her defeat at the hands of Ken in the 2010 selection contest, King has refused to rule out another bid, tweeting after Livingstone's defeat: "My husband asked me for first time: are you going to run in 2016? Too early to say, I said, and went back to the washing up... #londonmayor". More recently, she told the Guardian: "If a week is a long time in politics, come on, 2016 is too far away, and the genuine thing is it depends on my kids. I still think the London mayor is the best job in the world, but that's a different question to whether I try to run for it again".

Jon Cruddas

The Dagenham MP, currently leading Labour's policy review, was urged by many Labour supporters to stand for the nomination in 2010 but eventually lent his support to Ken. Having previously commented that he's "not interested in Westminster, or parliament really", a bid for City Hall may appeal once the review concludes. 

Andrew Adonis

The Labour peer and former transport secretary, who is currently advising the party on industrial policy, declared in 2011 that he "would love to be Mayor". His passion for infrastructure and grands projets makes him a strong candidate to oversee the completion of Crossrail. In a piece for today's Evening Standard, he condemns Boris's failure to build a Thames crossing, writing that "what’s needed is action not waffle". 

Alan Johnson

Westminster's favourite former New Labour minister revealed last year that he considered running for the post and said of a 2016 bid, "I would not rule it out". More recently, however, he said he would be "too old" (Johnson will be 65 in 2016) and that he wanted to commit to serving another full term as MP for Hull West. But given his ever-improving reputation could he be persuaded to reconsider? 

And one who won't be ...

Eddie Izzard

The long-standing Labour supporter has openly declared his interest in the post but recently told the Sun that he intends to remain in comedy for six more years, putting him out of contention for the 2016 nomination. Given his penchant for attaching himself to doomed causes (the euro, the Alternative Vote) that may be just as well. 

Tottenham MP David Lammy, who "thought hard" about standing in 2010, is likely to bid for the Labour nomination this time round. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Getty
Show Hide image

MPs should follow Emmanuel Macron's example and stand up to the far right

Where does a liberal centrist's victory fit into your narrative of inevitable decline? 

“Après le #Brexit, le printemps des peuples est inévitable !” wrote the far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen, days after Brexit. Well, the blossom is on the trees, and Le Pen is through to the second round of the French presidential elections, so presumably we’re bang in the middle of that inevitable “people’s spring”. 

After all, a referendum that left Britain’s metropolitan elite weeping into their EU flags was swiftly followed by the complete overturning of US political and ethical traditions. Donald Trump defied polling and won the Presidency, all the while proclaiming he was “Mr Brexit”.  

Then, in December, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi held a referendum on constitutional changes and lost. Both Europhiles and Eurosceptics read the runes. Ukip’s on and off leader Nigel Farage crowed of 2016: “First we had the Brexit deliverance, then the Trump triumph, then the Italian rebellion. Democracy and the rebirth of the nation state!”

As this illustrates, the far-right want you to believe all these results are linked, and that they represent a popular, democratic movement. In the UK at least, the liberal left has drunk the English champagne. Labour is agonising over how to reconnect with “traditional” voters Ukip is apparently so in touch with – which don’t seem to include ethnic minorities, young people and those living in cities. Being “tough on immigration” is the answer to modern woes, and globalisation is a dirty word that can only represent multinational interests and not, say, cheaper food on the table. 

There are debates to be had about globalisation, of course, and the lingering impact of the 2008 financial crash, and the fact wages haven’t risen, and public services have been cut, and that in some northern towns, people from different ethnic backgrounds live segregated lives. But if the first round of the French presidential election can do us one favour, it’s to dispense with the narrative that there is something inevitable about the end of liberalism. 

Emmanuel Macron, an unapologetically pro-EU social, economic and political liberal, led the way in the first round of the French presidential election. The polls put him on course to become President.

If he wins, perhaps it’s time to revisit the narrative of decline. To remind ourselves that Hillary Clinton, now written off, won the popular vote in the United States, and among growing demographics of voters too. That a far-right  Austrian presidential candidate was defeated in 2016. That as recently as March, the Dutch mainstream prevailed against the far-right original Trump, Geert Wilders, and that the left-green leader Jesse Klaver enjoyed a surge instead. And that, although it’s now commonplace to assume Canada is just “nicer” in electing a liberal, Justin Trudeau, his party actually overturned nearly a decade of tar sands Conservative rule. 

Should liberals start to join these dots, voters should have the right to ask why both Labour and the Conservatives have jumped on the populists' bandwagon so eagerly. Why, among previously economically liberal Conservatives, are Nicky Morgan, Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry left as lone voices on the back benches. And why, in Labour, is patchy research linking depressed wages and immigration now exhalted as long-established fact? 

Liberalism may be out of fashion, but it’s not dead yet, as any of the Tory MPs in south-west marginal seats know too well. By the time Farage’s “independence day” on 24 June arrives, the narrative may have changed again. 

 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

0800 7318496