Henry G Manson: Lammy for Mayor?

Henry G Manson: Lammy for Mayor?

Back Lammy to Lead Labour’s London Bid

The recent months have seen some interesting little developments that could impact on who will be Labour’s mayoral candidate in London. Ladbrokes have been first off the mark with a very thorough market for who will be the next Mayor of London. Boris Johnson is 5/6 and as much as it pains me to say it, I think this is a value choice. However it is also worth examining the possible runners and riders on the Labour ticket and whether any of them could run him close. I think David Lammy can and will at super odds.

Ken Livingstone (10/1)

Twice winner Ken is second-favourite to be the next Mayor of London. He has been a presenter of radio shows with LBC which have kept him in the public eye and earlier this summer he declared that he would like to challenge again. However he has agreed to be an advisor for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. This is a big negative in my book for his chances in the future and I see this more as a near retirement occupation rather than a way of rehabilitating himself with swing voters. Ken’s age is important – he will be 67 at the time of the next election and there’s a sense in the party that he’s had his go and we need to move on. His selection would be by no means guaranteed and I think in a few years time he will bow out gracefully.

Jon Cruddas (16/1)

If the polls are replicated at a general election Jon Cruddas could very possibly lose his parliamentary seat which will be fought under new boundaries. Well known across London and with a national profile from his Deputy Leadership bid last year, he has become a forceful critic of ‘New’ Labour. He would have strong support from plenty grassroots members and the trade unions and was backed by Ken for his Deputy bid so may run with his blessing. But I can’t quite see him running for this position and at the moment his mind seems to be firmly on national issues.

Alan Sugar (25/1)

Well known businessman celebrity and a lifelong Labour supporter. He has no political experience and would be treated with great nervousness by the trade unions. I just can’t see him swapping his lifestyle and interests for Mayor of London.

David Lammy (33/1)

Emboldened by his friend Barack Obama’s success in the States, Lammy is starting to speak out on a wide range of issues. He has subtly criticised Ken Livingstone on a number of occasions including most recently for running his campaign as part of the Establishment. He has no risk of losing his Tottenham seat, so wouldn’t be tainted with defeat from 2010. If Labour is in opposition facing a reasonably large Tory majority surely he’d find running London far more attractive than whiling his way as Shadow Minister for Health or Housing.

Lammy would have the support of the right of the party, but he is now positioning himself firmly in the centre ground of the party as demonstrated by remarks such as, ‘old Labour was hostile to the market; New Labour has arguably been too deferential to it.’. Lammy is part of a new generation and I think would beat Livingstone in a selection contest (if he ran) and could run Johnson close in the election itself.

Tessa Jowell (33/1)

Minister for the Olympics but won’t get a look in now that Johnson is in charge. Not particularly popular across the party in London and seen as ultra-Blairite. Anxieties about her lack of knowledge of her husband’s finances and dealings with Berlusconi remain. A likely backer of a Lammy bid.

Trevor Phillips (40/1)

A longstanding foe of Ken Livingstone but has had his chance to run for this office. Continues to speak out on a range of thorny issues. A likely supporter of David Lammy’s.

Dawn Butler (50/1)

A thoughtful soft left MP with an interest in youth issues. Liked across the party but hasn’t the clout to go toe-to-toe with Johnson and an emboldened Tory machine.

Nicky Gavron (66/1)

Has previously run for selection for Labour’s mayoral candidate and was a successful Deputy under Ken Livingstone. Often worked behind the scenes and played a major role behind some of his most popular policies. She could conceivably run for Mayor but I doubt she’d be able to beat Johnson. Worth a small bet at these odds.

Oona King (100/1)

Still reasonably popular in the party despite her vocal support for the war in Iraq and her defeat to George Galloway. High profile and has recently written a book. Sadly she has demonstrated little personal or organisational competence within her career. It could be argued that Boris Johnson has lowered the level of entry on that front and therefore she is worth a nibble at 100/1.

Konnie Huq (200/1)

Former Blue Peter presenter was criticised for supporting Ken Livingstone at a number of events in the run up to the mayoral election. Carried the Olympic torch and sister Rupa is active within the Labour Party. Apparently there is a ‘Konnie for Mayor’ facebook group with over a hundred members. If Labour wanted a celebrity candidate they could do worse, but at present she is only worth a very small bet.


Emily Thornberry (100/1) will almost certainly lose her parliamentary seat on the national swing but is regarded as a good local campaigner, particularly on green issues. May have support among the centre-left, but would be behind plenty of others in the pecking order. George Galloway (100/1) has chance on any ticket. Len Duvall (100/1) is a respected player on the London Labour scene but not a front man. Val Shawcross (100/1) good hardworking assembly member but arguably hasn’t the charisma or presence for this office.


Avert your eyes Shadsy! David Lammy looks like he is interested in running and would be a powerful candidate with reach and support across the party. He is one of the few Labour names that could beat Johnson and at 33/1 offers excellent value. Take anything over 8/1.

Henry G Manson is a long-time contributor to PB.com

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