Away from the LAB leadership there’s been a bit of a buzz about today about Nick Clegg’s future with the extraordinary suggestion that he should be his party’s candidate for Mayor of London in the election next May.
Although the final outcome last week was devastating for his party for the LDs he emerged, in the eyes of some, with his reputation enhanced which was reinforced by the manner and dignity of his resignation last Friday. Clegg relishes campaigning and this clearly showed.
Wouldn’t it be a great idea, one senior Lib Dem staffer told me, if the former DPM was to run for mayor. The ex-DPM leader is 48 and far too young and spritely to consider retirement.
What makes the mayoralty so interesting is that Boris is standing down and there’s a lack of potential contenders in the two main parties with the name recognition of Clegg. Labour’s selection looks as though it will be between Tessa Jowell and Sadiq Khan while there are few obvious choices for the Tories.
Clegg has built up a close attachment to London politics with his long-running weekly phone-in slot and LBC.
The history of London mayoral elections is that individual candidates matter more than parties. In 2000 Ken won standing as an independent against the official LAB candidate. He was re-elected in 2004 by tapping into support right across the political spectrum. Both Boris’s victories in 2008 and 2012 have been underpinned by non-Tories switching to him.
I’ve no idea whether Nick is aware of this speculation or what his view would be but it does make a certain amount of sense.
This morning I bet at 100/1 with William Hill that the official LD candidate would win in London next May. I love long-shots like this and sometimes they come up.