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Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita drops out of race after coronavirus delay

Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita drops out of race after coronavirus delay

The decision of Ms Benita, a former senior civil servant, to stand down means the Lib Dems are now searching for a candidate for the May 2021 election.

2 min read

The Liberal Democrat candidate to take on Sadiq Khan as mayor of London has dropped out of the race.

Siobhan Benita said it had become “really difficult” to stay in the contest for another year after the planned 2020 election was pushed back for a year because of Covid-19.

Her move follows the decision in May of fellow candidate Rory Stewart, a former Conservative cabinet minister running as an independent, to quit the contest.

In a statement, Ms Benita said: “It has been such a privilege to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for mayor of London.

“The demands on a candidate are significant and an election of this scale, particularly in an unpaid role means it's really difficult to get other work.

“And unfortunately with the delay due to the pandemic, I'm simply not able to commit to another full year of campaigning and to leading the type of campaign that I really want to lead in London. 

“So, very sadly, after much consideration. I'm having to announce that I am standing down from the role and I won't be contesting the election in 2021.”

The decision of Ms Benita, a former senior civil servant, to stand down means the Lib Dems are now searching for a candidate for the May 2021 election.

Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan is seeking re-election, and will square off against Conservative Shaun Bailey in a contest expected to be heavily defined by the response to Covid-19, which has taken a major toll on Transport for London’s finances.

In her message to supporters, Ms Benita said: “I know that Londoners are creative, they are resilient and they are going to overcome all of the challenges that no doubt will be facing us in the coming months.”

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