Everyone In The Mix To Be The Conservatives' London Mayoral Candidate
The Conservative Party has formally kicked off its search for a candidate to challenge Sadiq Khan for the role of London Mayor in next year’s London mayoral election, and a number of high profile names are already in the mix.
Applications for a Tory candidate opened on Tuesday. Labour has already confirmed that Khan will seek a third term in office when Londoners vote next May.
The Conservative candidate contest will run for the next 10 weeks, and party members in London will get the opportunity to vote for their preferred person, who will be confirmed on 19 July.
The winner will seek to replicate the success of Boris Johnson, the only Tory to have held the position since it was first created in 2000. Johnson held the position of London mayor from 2008-2016, succeeding Labour's Ken Livingstone.
A number of leading Tories have already confirmed or hinted that they will put themselves forward.
Here are the potential candidates currently in the mix for the Conservative mayoral candidacy:
Minister for London Paul Scully told the Centre for London’s spring conference last month that he may throw his hat in the ring for the London mayoral contest.
“I am considering it, I haven’t made a decision yet, but frankly if we’re going to get London working, if we’re going to keep London as the top city in the world, there are certain things that the Mayor does, and frankly I just want to make sure that they get done, whoever is the Mayor of London,” Scully said in remarks published by the Evening Standard.
Scully is one of 20 Conservative MPs who holds a seat across the 73 Greater London parliamentary constituencies, having represented Sutton and Cheam since 2015.
He also served as vice-chairman of the Conservative party for the London region between 2017 and 2019 under former prime minister Theresa May.
Samuel Kasumu, a former adviser to Johnson, announced his intention to stand for the London mayor role last year, and has received the backing of some big party names, including former home secretary Priti Patel.
Last year, Kasumu told The House magazine that housing would be the top of his agenda for his campaign, and has previously written on the ConservativeHome website that the party is “in danger of turning our back on [former Conservative prime minister] Thatcher’s legacy” on housing. He said that under her leadership the party "was able to give people a chance to own their own homes".
Speaking after the contest timetable was laid out on Tuesday, Kasumu confirmed again that he intends to submit an application, and said that the city has "lost its way" since Khan became mayor in 2015.
“People feel less safe and less able to live where they wish to. In this age of levelling up, there has never been a greater need to reimagine all that London could be," Kasumu said.
"It is time for a new vision that units the city and inspires hope."
Duwayne Brooks, a former councillor in the London borough of Lewisham, and close friend of murdered schoolboy Stephen Lawrence, has also announced his intention to stand for the Conservative candidacy.
Brooks, aged 18 at the time, was with his friend Stephen Lawrence when he was murdered in a racially motivated attack at a bus stop in Eltham in 1993.
Announcing his intention to run in the Mirror newspaper last month, Brooks criticised policing in the capital, indicating he would put the issue at the centre of his campaign.
"Racism, discrimination: still happening. Poor policing, poor leadership: still happening," he wrote.
A subsequent inquiry found that the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the killing had been "marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership."
The Met has come under increasing pressure to reform in recent years following a string of scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard.
Earlier this year, a report by Baroness Casey – commissioned after the Met recognised "grave levels of public concern – highlighted examples of racist, homophobic and misogynistic behaviour among officers.
“The first thing I would do is scrap the Department of Professional Standards," Brooks told The Mirror.
"Police investigating police? I would have a team with ex-officers who know their stuff. I’d have lefty lawyers, as they call them, because they get to the truth.”
London Assembly member Nick Rogers has said that he will stand to be the Conservative candidate, and described London as "urgently" needing new leadership and "being let down by its mayor".
He has already said that he would reverse the controversial expansion to ULEZ, due this August.
The £12.50 charge for non-compliant vehicles is due to be rolled out across all 32 London boroughs this August, and it is a policy of Sadiq Khan's that has attracted cross party criticism.
Rogers told The Telegraph last month: “If I become mayor and ULEZ expansion has happened, I would reverse it. And if I become mayor and it has not yet happened, I would cancel it It's as simple as that.”
London Assembly member Andrew Boff is seeking the Conservative mayoral candidacy for the sixth time.
First elected to the Assembly since 2008, he has previously served as chairman and deputy chairman in the London chamber.
Announcing he would seek the nomination again, Boff told the Telegraph last month that the Conservative Party needs "a distinctive London voice".
"We’re not as hung up about things like immigration because we are the most diverse and multicultural city on the planet," he said. "That is our strength."
Boff also pledged to "major" on issues sich as the environment, housing, and the planning system, as well as reverse the propsed ULEZ changes, like Rogers.
“I will win because I can hit those parts of London that the Conservative Party find very difficult to address, because that’s the only way we can win,” he said.
Former Cabinet minister, and Conservative MP for North West Hampshire Kit Malthouse, has not ruled out the possibility that he will stand. Malthouse previously served as deputy London mayor for both policing and business under Johnson.
“Naturally you think about these things and have a look at what people might be open to,” Malthouse said following the opening of applications when asked by LBC whether he would stand.
“I will keep my thoughts to myself for the moment," he added. “It is a fantastic opportunity.”
Malthouse also served on Westminster Council between 1998 and 2006, representing the St George’s ward in Pimlico.
Susan Hall, the Conservative leader in the London Assembly until earlier this month, has announced her intention to stand.
Hall tweeted on Tuesday evening about her “common sense plan to fix our great city”.
She proposed wide-ranging changes to the Metropolitan Police, and Hall told The Telegraph that the Met needs root and branch reform” and the Commissioner should have the power to “be able to sack corrupt officers”.
“We need a common-sense plan to fix all the issues in London,” Hall continued.
“We need to stop messing around with committees looking at whether statues should be taken down or roads should be renamed.
“It is absolutely stupid because we have got to get the basics right first. People need to feel safe, we need to have decent family housing and we need to make sure that the transport system works.”
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