Labour’s London region has launched the process for choosing its candidate for the next mayoral election, with Sadiq Khan confirmed as seeking selection to run for a third term.
Often termed a “trigger ballot”, the nomination exercise will initially involve the capital’s 73 constituency parties and affiliated unions and other organisations voting on whether to endorse Khan going forward automatically as Labour’s candidate for the 2024 City Hall race or to “trigger” him, meaning others would be able to challenge him.
Local parties can begin holding nomination meetings from this Thursday and must complete them by 18 December, with the result known soon after.
The expectation is that Khan will secure the majority he needs to be automatically re-selected, and he has previously indicated that he intends to run for Mayor again, although, like all mayoral candidates, he would not be required to officially declare his candidacy until much nearer the scheduled date of 2 May 2024.
If he runs in 2024 and wins, Khan will become the first three-term Mayor of London. His two predecessors, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, were Mayor for two terms each.
Khan or any other Labour candidate would probably be favourite to win, given Labour’s current huge national opinion poll leads over the Conservatives and the likelihood of support for the party being even stronger in London, where Tory electoral fortunes have been in long-term decline. The Tories lost 107 seats at this year’s borough elections, leaving them with just 404 out of 1,811.
However, Khan’s re-election at the Covid-delayed mayoral contest of 2021 was by a smaller margin over his Conservative opponent than opinion polls had suggested, and the Tory national government’s introduction of a requirement for voters to show photographic identification at polling stations is thought likely to suppress the Labour vote.
The Tory government has also done away with the supplementary vote system for mayoral elections – used since the very first one, held in 2000 – and replaced it with first-past-the-post, which has to the potential to split the vote for centre and left parties, again to Tory advantage.
Updated at 11:30pm.
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