Nearly two years before election day the Tory party is going to select their London Mayoral candidate this summer

June 4th, 2018

Conservative Home reported earlier on this week that

The Conservative candidate for mayor of London will be chosen this summer, during a three-month campaign culminating in a selection in time for the Party’s annual conference.

The newly-agreed timetable provides for nominations in June, hustings and other campaigning during July and August, followed by a vote in September.

I do think Sadiq Khan is vulnerable, particularly on crime, he might blame Tory austerity but the counter argument might be that the perception is crime didn’t surge under Boris Johnson, particularly knife crime that a heavyweight Tory could exploit but I don’t think a heavyweight Tory will stand.

The things in Sadiq Khan’s favour will be is that London is seriously pro Labour, last month in the locals Labour recorded their best result since 1971 and there’s still the fallout from the Brexit referendum which I expect will be sub-optimal for the Tories.

The next Mayoral election should take place  whilst the UK is still in the transition phase so I’d expect Brexit to still be a factor in this election.

Assuming we don’t fall out of the EU with no deal then the post transition deal will still be being negotiated and that could lead to politics being even more polarised.

I’m also not sure of the wisdom of the Tory party selecting their candidate so far in advance. Labour tried the same approach for the 2012 Mayoral election when they selected the UK’s leading Hitler expert in the autumn of 2010 but an early selection didn’t ensure Ken Livingstone’s victory in May 2012.

A 40% return in less than two years seems like the best option, I expect the only way this doesn’t pay out if Sadiq Khan doesn’t stand, he might have loftier ambitions, especially if the Tories maintain (or extend) their polling lead which leads to Corbyn becoming vulnerable.