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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Brexit will hike energy prices - progressive campaigners should seize the opportunity

Winter is Coming. 

Friday 24th June 2016 was a beautiful day. Blue sky and highs of 22 degrees greeted Londoners as they awoke to the news that Britain had voted to leave the EU.  

Yet the sunny weather was at odds with the mood of the capital, which was largely in favour of Remain. And even more so with the prospect of an expensive, uncertain and potentially dirty energy future. 

For not only are prominent members of the Leave leadership well known climate sceptics - with Boris Johnson playing down human impact upon the weather, Nigel Farage admitting he doesn’t “have a clue” about global warming, and Owen Paterson advocating scrapping the Climate Change Act altogether - but Brexit looks set to harm more than just our plans to reduce emissions.

Far from delivering the Leave campaign’s promise of a cheaper and more secure energy supply, it is likely that the referendum’s outcome will cause bills to rise and investment in new infrastructure to delay -  regardless of whether or not we opt to stay within Europe’s internal energy market.

Here’s why: 

1. Rising cost of imports

With the UK importing around 50% of our gas supply, any fall in the value of sterling are likely to push up the wholesale price of fuel and drive up charges - offsetting Boris Johnson’s promise to remove VAT on energy bills.

2. Less funding for energy development

Pulling out of the EU will also require us to give up valuable funding. According to a Chatham House report, not only was the UK set to receive €1.9bn for climate change adaptation and risk prevention, but €1.6bn had also been earmarked to support the transition to a low carbon economy.

3.  Investment uncertainty & capital flight

EU countries currently account for over half of all foreign direct investment in UK energy infrastructure. And while the chairman of EDF energy, the French state giant that is building the planned nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, has said Brexit would have “no impact” on the project’s future, Angus Brendan MacNeil, chair of the energy and climate select committee, believes last week’s vote undermines all such certainty; “anything could happen”, he says.

4. Compromised security

According to a report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (the IEEP), an independent UK stands less chance of securing favourable bilateral deals with non-EU countries. A situation that carries particular weight with regard to Russia, from whom the UK receives 16% of its energy imports.

5. A divided energy supply

Brexiteers have argued that leaving the EU will strengthen our indigenous energy sources. And is a belief supported by some industry officials: “leaving the EU could ultimately signal a more prosperous future for the UK North Sea”, said Peter Searle of Airswift, the global energy workforce provider, last Friday.

However, not only is North Sea oil and gas already a mature energy arena, but the renewed prospect of Scottish independence could yet throw the above optimism into free fall, with Scotland expected to secure the lion’s share of UK offshore reserves. On top of this, the prospect for protecting the UK’s nascent renewable industry is also looking rocky. “Dreadful” was the word Natalie Bennett used to describe the Conservative’s current record on green policy, while a special government audit committee agreed that UK environment policy was likely to be better off within the EU than without.

The Brexiteer’s promise to deliver, in Andrea Leadsom’s words, the “freedom to keep bills down”, thus looks likely to inflict financial pain on those least able to pay. And consumers could start to feel the effects by the Autumn, when the cold weather closes in and the Conservatives, perhaps appropriately, plan to begin Brexit negotiations in earnest.

Those pressing for full withdrawal from EU ties and trade, may write off price hikes as short term pain for long term gain. While those wishing to protect our place within EU markets may seize on them, as they did during referendum campaign, as an argument to maintain the status quo. Conservative secretary of state for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd, has already warned that leaving the internal energy market could cause energy costs “to rocket by at least half a billion pounds a year”.

But progressive forces might be able to use arguments on energy to do even more than this - to set out the case for an approach to energy policy in which economics is not automatically set against ideals.

Technological innovation could help. HSBC has predicted that plans for additional interconnectors to the continent and Ireland could lower the wholesale market price for baseload electricity by as much as 7% - a physical example of just how linked our international interests are. 

Closer to home, projects that prioritise reducing emission through tackling energy poverty -  from energy efficiency schemes to campaigns for publicly owned energy companies - may provide a means of helping heal the some of the deeper divides that the referendum campaign has exposed.

If the failure of Remain shows anything, it’s that economic arguments alone will not always win the day and that a sense of justice – or injustice – is still equally powerful. Luckily, if played right, the debate over energy and the environment might yet be able to win on both.

 

India Bourke is the New Statesman's editorial assistant.