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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A swimming pool and a bleeding toe put my medical competency in doubt

Doctors are used to contending with Google. Sometimes the search engine wins. 

The brutal heatwave affecting southern Europe this summer has become known among locals as “Lucifer”. Having just returned from Italy, I fully understand the nickname. An early excursion caused the beginnings of sunstroke, so we abandoned plans to explore the cultural heritage of the Amalfi region and strayed no further than five metres from the hotel pool for the rest of the week.

The children were delighted, particularly my 12-year-old stepdaughter, Gracie, who proceeded to spend hours at a time playing in the water. Towelling herself after one long session, she noticed something odd.

“What’s happened there?” she asked, holding her foot aloft in front of my face.

I inspected the proffered appendage: on the underside of her big toe was an oblong area of glistening red flesh that looked like a chunk of raw steak.

“Did you injure it?”

She shook her head. “It doesn’t hurt at all.”

I shrugged and said she must have grazed it. She wasn’t convinced, pointing out that she would remember if she had done that. She has great faith in plasters, though, and once it was dressed she forgot all about it. I dismissed it, too, assuming it was one of those things.

By the end of the next day, the pulp on the underside of all of her toes looked the same. As the doctor in the family, I felt under some pressure to come up with an explanation. I made up something about burns from the hot paving slabs around the pool. Gracie didn’t say as much, but her look suggested a dawning scepticism over my claims to hold a medical degree.

The next day, Gracie and her new-found holiday playmate, Eve, abruptly terminated a marathon piggy-in-the-middle session in the pool with Eve’s dad. “Our feet are bleeding,” they announced, somewhat incredulously. Sure enough, bright-red blood was flowing, apparently painlessly, from the bottoms of their big toes.

Doctors are used to contending with Google. Often, what patients discover on the internet causes them undue alarm, and our role is to provide context and reassurance. But not infrequently, people come across information that outstrips our knowledge. On my return from our room with fresh supplies of plasters, my wife looked up from her sun lounger with an air of quiet amusement.

“It’s called ‘pool toe’,” she said, handing me her iPhone. The page she had tracked down described the girls’ situation exactly: friction burns, most commonly seen in children, caused by repetitive hopping about on the abrasive floors of swimming pools. Doctors practising in hot countries must see it all the time. I doubt it presents often to British GPs.

I remained puzzled about the lack of pain. The injuries looked bad, but neither Gracie nor Eve was particularly bothered. Here the internet drew a blank, but I suspect it has to do with the “pruning” of our skin that we’re all familiar with after a soak in the bath. This only occurs over the pulps of our fingers and toes. It was once thought to be caused by water diffusing into skin cells, making them swell, but the truth is far more fascinating.

The wrinkling is an active process, triggered by immersion, in which the blood supply to the pulp regions is switched off, causing the skin there to shrink and pucker. This creates the biological equivalent of tyre treads on our fingers and toes and markedly improves our grip – of great evolutionary advantage when grasping slippery fish in a river, or if trying to maintain balance on slick wet rocks.

The flip side of this is much greater friction, leading to abrasion of the skin through repeated micro-trauma. And the lack of blood flow causes nerves to shut down, depriving us of the pain that would otherwise alert us to the ongoing tissue damage. An adaptation that helped our ancestors hunt in rivers proves considerably less use on a modern summer holiday.

I may not have seen much of the local heritage, but the trip to Italy taught me something new all the same. 

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear