Nigel Farage considers running for London mayor https://t.co/zKaSNpDIpc
— FT UK Politics (@ftukpolitics) August 30, 2018
Nigel Farage is weighing a bid to become mayor of London, in an attempt to push the Conservative party into third place in the British capital.
Mr Farage, who lives in Bromley in south London, quit as leader of the UK Independence party in July 2016, weeks after the UK voted to leave the EU. He is still a member of the European Parliament, but will lose his position when the UK leaves the EU next March.
Mr Farage — who has stood unsuccessfully for parliament seven times, but has been elected three times as an MEP — said that the London mayoral election in May 2020 would be an opportunity to “make arguments” on a high-profile platform.
“I have been encouraged to [stand] by a group of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to,” he said. “I haven’t said no to it, I’m thinking about it.”
“The Tory party are very actively aware that if I did stand, they would probably come third, and they are afraid of that,” he added.
One senior Conservative official said that Downing Street was already braced for electoral embarrassment if Mr Farage entered the contest.
One ally of Mr Farage said that more Londoners had voted for Brexit than for Mr Khan, despite the city’s pro-EU reputation.
Apart from Scotland I cannot think of anywhere less suited for Nigel Farage to do well in than London so I’m expecting the seven times failed Parliamentary candidate to match that record in the London Mayoral election.
Assuming no change of government in 2020 we will have had ten years of Tory government, of various shades, and we’ll be midway through the Parliament so that’s when governments have been historically unpopular so there is the potential for the Tories to finish third. But I don’t expect it will be UKIP, in 2016 UKIP polled just over one tenth of what the Tories did in the first round, so that’s a very low base for Farage to start from.
The Tory candidate will be someone who isn’t seen as a heavyweight politician so there’s a chance for Farage to outshine them, though several people I respect have a lot of good things to say about Shaun Bailey.
However I don’t think Farage’s brand of politics are suited to London and there’ll be a real desire to ensure Farage doesn’t make it in to the final two. The supplementary vote, like the alternative vote system, allows for tactical voting against a particular candidate in the first round. It will be very easy for the Tories to portray themselves as the stop Farage side.
Farage’s friendship with Donald Trump and Trump’s history of antagonism with Sadiq Khan havethe potential of working against Farage in a city that seems vehemently opposed to Trump. It isn’t difficult to envisage Trump intervening on Farage’s behalf during the London Mayoral election and the situation developing not necessarily to Farage’s advantage.
I don’t think UKIP have the resources nor the infrastructure to run a proper London Mayoral campaign, just look at how few candidates they put in the 2017 general election.
Also it is a fundamental misreading of electoral physics to compare a low turnout London Mayoral election with several candidates conducted under the supplementary vote to a higher turnout referendum with a binary choice option.
So from a betting position I’d definitely be laying Farage to win the Mayoralty and laying him to finish second. I’m hoping for some bookies to price up Farage actually not standing, I’ll be looking to back Farage not standing.