Sadiq Khan will be “proudly campaigning on his record” when his bid for a third term as London’s Mayor begins, according to a senior London Labour source who said the potential Conservative candidates shortlisted yesterday “represent more of the same approach that we’ve seen over the past 13 years of Tory government”.
Conservative members in the capital will select either London Assembly member (AM) Susan Hall, barrister Mozammel Hossain or tech entrepreneur Daniel Korski to take on Khan at next May’s election. The Conservative candidate is expected to be named on 19 July following a series of hustings.
The Labour source said that whoever the Tories put forward, Khan (pictured) will be highlighting what he was done on “making our city greener, building record numbers of council homes, continuing to tackle violent crime and its causes and giving primary school children free school meals”.
The source derided the Tory selection process as “a circus” and claimed “Londoners know exactly what the Tories are about – a cost-of-living crisis, soaring housing costs and bringing our public services to their knees.
The shortlisted unexpectedly excluded minister for London Paul Scully, the MP for Sutton & Cheam, who had been widely tipped as the favourite to take on Khan, and also the experienced AM Andrew Boff.
Suggestions that Scully was left out because Rishi Sunak feared his selection would precipitate an unwelcome by-election seem likely to be incorrect, as Ken Livingstone continued as an MP for a year after being elected Mayor in May 2000, resigning before the 2021 general election and Boris Johnson did the two jobs simultaneously both at the start and the end of his time at City Hall.
Hall, as the only one of the three Tory hopefuls who is a serving political – she is also a Harrow councillor and led the borough for nine months from September 2013 – will be the one best known to London’s Tory members, and this is likely to mean she starts as favourite. Hall has been congratulated on her shortlisting by Dan Wootton, a presenter on the right-wing television channel GB News on which she often appears.
Korski, who was a policy adviser to David Cameron when he was Prime Minister and has also worked as a journalist, was thought by observers to stand a chance of being shortlisted thanks to an energetic social media campaign and policy ideas, such as “smart” road-user pricing, that offered something different.
Hossain progressing to the shortlist was a complete surprise as the King’s Counsel, who works out of 187 Chambers, made no prior announcement that he had applied to be considered, has no known political experience and, for the moment, no social media presence.
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