When will the Lib Dems have a London mayoral candidate?

by Stephen Tall on July 18, 2007

The six Tory candidates – Boris plus five others – vying to become the party’s nominee to take on Labour’s Ken Livingstone for London mayor have been revealed on Conservative Home here.

Last week, we asked the question, who should be the Lib Dem nominee – which provoked a lively comment thread, with suggestions ranging from the possible, to the desirable, to the far-fetched.

This week, the question is, what’s the timetable for selecting the Lib Dems’ mayoral candidate? The election takes place in May 2008, in 10 months’ time. To the best of my knowledge, the vacancy of Lib Dem mayoral candidate has yet to be advertised. When will it be?

Not that I buy Daniel Finkelstein’s rather smug, and typically anti-Lib Dem, line – that Ming Campbell has been left with egg on his face by not signing up to David Cameron’s daft suggestion that Greg Dyke should run on a joint Lib Dem/Tory anti-Ken ticket.

The Tory commentariat and blogosphere may have erupted in orgiastic rapture at the prospect of Boris as the Tories’ mayoral candidate. But one doesn’t have to subscribe to Polly Toynbee’s hyper-adjectival rant against ‘Mr Blond Ambition’ to regard Boris as a big risk for the Tories.

Even if he can negotiate the next 10 months without dropping a clanger which cannot easily be laughed off, the real nightmare for the Tories might be if Boris were to win…

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14 comments

We need to have someone in place sooner rather than later otherwise it will become increasingly difficult to get our candidate, whoever it is, known and begin to get some momentum.

by Barry Scott on July 18, 2007 at 1:02 pm. Reply #

Finding a person is hard enough. Actually having a distinctive message that Londoners would want to vote for would appear to be even a bigger problem.
Maybe that is why no one of any significance – as far as we know – wants the job?
In theory we support decentralising power. Ok, so where are the policies to support that?
One Lib Dem activist I spoke to reckoned our critique of Ken is that he is more interested in helping “dictators” than the people of London. Well even taken at face value, that has never stopped him being re-elected in the past, and in any case there are surely bigger issues we should be looking at?

by Geoffrey Payne on July 18, 2007 at 1:20 pm. Reply #

If we’re going for entertainment value I definitely think Lembit is the obvious choice.

by Letterman on July 18, 2007 at 1:33 pm. Reply #

Lembit represents a Welsh constituency so that kind of rules him out. What about Ed Davey? He’s got proven abilities and he represents a Greater London constituency. Plus, it would allow him to show his mettle for any future contest for the party leadership – after the next election, natch.

Plus he also manages to pull funny faces, as in the picture on this page.

by wit and wisdom on July 18, 2007 at 1:59 pm. Reply #

I think the Greg Dyke thing was a mistake; we can’t seem to find a candidate.

Frankly, i think boris would do a much better job than Ken. He would certainly chop all that nonsense about liasing with dubious overseas characters. It’s not that people don’t care about such issues, its just that Londoners expect a big candidate to go up against ken and say it.

If we can’t get a big name, then we should get a competent candidate and hammer Ken strongly on his inviting islamic fundamentalists etc over. Why should Gay people vote for Ken in such circumstances? Or women? We can gain support on that.

by Sid on July 18, 2007 at 2:49 pm. Reply #

I would hope that we wouldn’t put Ed Davey up for it on the basis that he has given some real oompf to Ming’s office since he took his current position.

I think we cannot hope to have a bigger name than Boris so it has to be a distinctive, bold and clear message. I would agree with Sid above that competency and reliability is a necessity for whoever we pick (which would be enough of a reason to disqualify Lembit).

I suggested Sandi Totsvig in the previous thread with a decided lack of sincerity, but how about Paul Burstow? He has been our spokesperson for London before and has a solid record in Sutton and Cheam.

by Barry Scott on July 18, 2007 at 3:51 pm. Reply #

Comment 6: are you THE Barry Scott?

by Stuart on July 18, 2007 at 5:26 pm. Reply #

Wasn’t Brian Paddick (the former senior policemn) being suggested in the press?

by Ann-Marie on July 18, 2007 at 9:29 pm. Reply #

Chickening out of a shared candidate i.e Greg Dyke was a major blunder which the party will live to regret.
Running a city like London does not have to be on tribal,party political lines.
Both the Lib Dems & Tories could agree that the city could be run more efficiently,doesn’t need the mass of bureaucrats that Livingstone has built up in his empire e.g 49 PR staff,both parties could agree that foreign policy let alone entertaining dictators and hate preachers has nothing to do with the remit of London,both parties could agree on an improved transport system and more effective crime policies.
Ming,Davey et al you made a clunker here,whose going to put their career and reputation on the line now to receive a derisory share of the vote next May???

by jim on July 18, 2007 at 9:43 pm. Reply #

Brian Eno’s the man. Thoughtful, cerebral, wiped the floor with them all on any questions. Endorsed the Lib Dems in 2005.
Wonder if anyone will think to sound him out?

by Clive Tring on July 18, 2007 at 11:24 pm. Reply #

“Running a city like London does not have to be on tribal,party political lines.”

Jim, this sounds like the sort of comment made by people who think that politics would work a lot better if we all just got along and stopped arguing.

Different political parties believe in different things and propose difference solutions. That choice is the basis of democracy.

We and the Tories would disagree on a great many things. How could we possibly agree on one candidate? Post-election, we could form a coalition, but you cannot have a coalition within one person.

by Stuart on July 18, 2007 at 11:36 pm. Reply #

Comment 7: Stuart – I’m afraid I’m just A Barry Scott.

by Barry Scott on July 19, 2007 at 11:38 am. Reply #

Davey and Burstow are both good suggestions. Perhaps a female candidate – who ISNT Susan Kramer – would be a good idea if the major parties are both going for middle-aged egotistical men. Lynne Featherstone is the probable option.

by MBoy on July 19, 2007 at 1:27 pm. Reply #

I agree with MBoy. It would be sad, I think, if the three main parties all fielded straight white men. That’s what this white man thinks anyway.

by Stuart on July 19, 2007 at 1:47 pm. Reply #

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