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.

Photo: Getty
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Ken Livingstone says publicly what many are saying privately: tomorrow belongs to John McDonnell

The Shadow Chancellor has emerged as a frontrunner should another Labour leadership election happen. 

“It would be John.” Ken Livingstone, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most vocal allies in the media, has said publicly what many are saying privately: if something does happen to Corbyn, or should he choose to step down, place your bets on John McDonnell. Livingstone, speaking to Russia Today, said that if Corbyn were "pushed under a bus", John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, would be the preferred candidate to replace him.

Even among the Labour leader’s allies, speculation is rife as to if the Islington North MP will lead the party into the 2020 election. Corbyn would be 71 in 2020 – the oldest candidate for Prime Minister since Clement Attlee lost the 1955 election aged 72.

While Corbyn is said to be enjoying the role at present, he still resents the intrusion of much of the press and dislikes many of the duties of the party leader. McDonnell, however, has impressed even some critics with his increasingly polished TV performances and has wowed a few sceptical donors. One big donor, who was thinking of pulling their money, confided that a one-on-one chat with the shadow chancellor had left them feeling much happier than a similar chat with Ed Miliband.

The issue of the succession is widely discussed on the left. For many, having waited decades to achieve a position of power, pinning their hopes on the health of one man would be unforgivably foolish. One historically-minded trade union official points out that Hugh Gaitskell, at 56, and John Smith, at 55, were 10 and 11 years younger than Corbyn when they died. In 1994, the right was ready and had two natural successors in the shape of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in place. In 1963, the right was unprepared and lost the leadership to Harold Wilson, from the party's centre. "If something happens, or he just decides to call it a day, [we have to make sure] it will be '94 not '63," they observed.

While McDonnell is just two years younger than Corbyn, his closest ally in politics and a close personal friend, he is seen by some as considerably more vigorous. His increasingly frequent outings on television have seen him emerge as one of the most adept media performers from the Labour left, and he has won internal plaudits for his recent tussles with George Osborne over the tax bill.

The left’s hopes of securing a non-Corbyn candidate on the ballot have been boosted in recent weeks. The parliamentary Labour party’s successful attempt to boot Steve Rotheram off the party’s ruling NEC, while superficially a victory for the party’s Corbynsceptics, revealed that the numbers are still there for a candidate of the left to make the ballot. 30 MPs voted to keep Rotheram in place, with many MPs from the left of the party, including McDonnell, Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John Trickett, abstaining.

The ballot threshold has risen due to a little-noticed rule change, agreed over the summer, to give members of the European Parliament equal rights with members of the Westminster Parliament. However, Labour’s MEPs are more leftwing, on the whole, than the party in Westminster . In addition, party members vote on the order that Labour MEPs appear on the party list, increasing (or decreasing) their chances of being re-elected, making them more likely to be susceptible to an organised campaign to secure a place for a leftwinger on the ballot.

That makes it – in the views of many key players – incredibly likely that the necessary 51 nominations to secure a place on the ballot are well within reach for the left, particularly if by-election selections in Ogmore, where the sitting MP, is standing down to run for the Welsh Assembly, and Sheffield Brightside, where Harry Harpham has died, return candidates from the party’s left.

McDonnell’s rivals on the left of the party are believed to have fallen short for one reason or another. Clive Lewis, who many party activists believe could provide Corbynism without the historical baggage of the man himself, is unlikely to be able to secure the nominations necessary to make the ballot.

Any left candidate’s route to the ballot paper runs through the 2015 intake, who are on the whole more leftwing than their predecessors. But Lewis has alienated many of his potential allies, with his antics in the 2015 intake’s WhatsApp group a sore point for many. “He has brought too much politics into it,” complained one MP who is also on the left of the party. (The group is usually used for blowing off steam and arranging social events.)

Lisa Nandy, who is from the soft left rather than the left of the party, is widely believed to be in the running also, despite her ruling out any leadership ambitions in a recent interview with the New Statesman.However, she would represent a break from the Corbynite approach, albeit a more leftwing one than Dan Jarvis or Hilary Benn.

Local party chairs in no doubt that the shadow chancellor is profiling should another leadership election arise. One constituency chair noted to the New Statesman that: “you could tell who was going for it [last time], because they were desperate to speak [at events]”. Tom Watson, Caroline Flint, Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall all visited local parties across the country in preparation for their election bids in 2015.

Now, speaking to local party activists, four names are mentioned more than any other: Dan Jarvis, currently on the backbenches, but in whom the hopes – and the donations – of many who are disillusioned by the current leadership are invested, Gloria De Piero, who is touring the country as part of the party’s voter registration drive, her close ally Jon Ashworth, and John McDonnell.

Another close ally of Corbyn and McDonnell, who worked closely on the leadership election, is in no doubt that the shadow chancellor is gearing up for a run should the need arise.  “You remember when that nice Mr Watson went touring the country? Well, pay attention to John’s movements.”

As for his chances of success, McDonnell may well be even more popular among members than Corbyn himself. He is regularly at or near the top of LabourList's shadow cabinet rankings, and is frequently praised by members. Should he be able to secure the nominations to get on the ballot, an even bigger victory than that secured by Corbyn in September is not out of the question.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog. He usually writes about politics.