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.

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By refusing to stand down, Jeremy Corbyn has betrayed the British working classes

The most successful Labour politicians of the last decades brought to politics not only a burning desire to improve the lot of the working classes but also an understanding of how free market economies work.

Jeremy Corbyn has defended his refusal to resign the leadership of the Labour Party on the grounds that to do so would be betraying all his supporters in the country at large. But by staying on as leader of the party and hence dooming it to heavy defeat in the next general election he would be betraying the interests of the working classes this country. More years of Tory rule means more years of austerity, further cuts in public services, and perpetuation of the gross inequality of incomes. The former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Seema Malhotra, made the same point when she told Newsnight that “We have an unelectable leader, and if we lose elections then the price of our failure is paid by the working people of this country and their families who do not have a government to stand up for them.”

Of course, in different ways, many leading figures in the Labour movement, particularly in the trade unions, have betrayed the interests of the working classes for several decades. For example, in contrast with their union counterparts in the Scandinavian countries who pressurised governments to help move workers out of declining industries into expanding sectors of the economy, many British trade union leaders adopted the opposite policy. More generally, the trade unions have played a big part in the election of Labour party leaders, like Corbyn, who were unlikely to win a parliamentary election, thereby perpetuating the rule of Tory governments dedicated to promoting the interests of the richer sections of society.

And worse still, even in opposition Corbyn failed to protect the interests of the working classes. He did this by his abysmal failure to understand the significance of Tory economic policies. For example, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer had finished presenting the last budget, in which taxes were reduced for the rich at the expense of public services that benefit everybody, especially the poor, the best John McConnell could do – presumably in agreement with Corbyn – was to stand up and mock the Chancellor for having failed to fulfill his party’s old promise to balance the budget by this year! Obviously neither he nor Corbyn understood that had the government done so the effects on working class standards of living would have been even worse. Neither of them seems to have learnt that the object of fiscal policy is to balance the economy, not the budget.

Instead, they have gone along with Tory myth about the importance of not leaving future generations with the burden of debt. They have never asked “To whom would future generations owe this debt?” To their dead ancestors? To Martians? When Cameron and his accomplices banged on about how important it was to cut public expenditures because the average household in Britain owed about £3,000, they never pointed out that this meant that the average household in Britain was a creditor to the tune of about the same amount (after allowing for net overseas lending). Instead they went along with all this balanced budget nonsense. They did not understand that balancing the budget was just the excuse needed to justify the prime objective of the Tory Party, namely to reduce public expenditures in order to be able to reduce taxes on the rich. For Corbyn and his allies to go along with an overriding objective of balancing the budget is breathtaking economic illiteracy. And the working classes have paid the price.

One left-wing member of the panel on Question Time last week complained that the interests of the working classes were ignored by “the elite”. But it is members of the elite who have been most successful in promoting the interests of the working classes. The most successful pro-working class governments since the war have all been led mainly by politicians who would be castigated for being part of the elite, such as Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson, Tony Crosland, Barbara Castle, Richard Crossman, Roy Jenkins, Denis Healey, Tony Blair, and many others too numerous to list. They brought to politics not only a burning desire to improve the lot of the working classes (from which some of them, like me, had emerged) and reduce inequality in society but also an understanding of how free market economies work and how to deal with its deficiencies. This happens to be more effective than ignorant rhetoric that can only stroke the egos and satisfy the vanity of demagogues

People of stature like those I have singled out above seem to be much more rare in politics these days. But there is surely no need to go to other extreme and persist with leaders like Jeremy Corbyn, a certain election loser, however pure his motives and principled his ambitions.

Wilfred Beckerman is an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and was, for several years in the 1970s, the economics correspondent for the New Statesman