It’s a New Year, new decade, Veganuary … so it’s time for another election! This year is the London Mayoral Election. Over the coming months we’re going to be keeping an eye on each candidate as they reveal their manifestos, plans and hopes for London. But in case you had no idea, understandable this early in the campaign, here’s a guide to the main runners, riders and rank outsiders.
Labour: Sadiq Khan
Formerly the MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan has been the incumbent since he was elected in 2016. He recently pledged free travel for the carers of the disabled; similar to the carer’s ticket used at the recently closed Winter Wonderland. His most famous policy is the introduction of the Hopper Fare whereby if you do bus journeys in one hour, you get the second free.
He caused controversy on January 6th by saying that the public ‘got it right’ in electing Boris Johnson, saying, ‘we got pasted’. In YouGov’s most recent poll he leads with 45 per cent popularity, but that could all change very quickly.
Conservative Party: Shaun Bailey
Second in the polls behind Sadiq Khan is former youth worker, and former special adviser on Youth & Crime to David Cameron, Shaun Bailey.
Before going into politics, the north Londoner worked as a youth worker, co-founding the now dissolved charity, MyGeneration. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post he promised to take a ‘zero tolerance’ stance on knife crime and add one-thousand police to London’s streets. This comes as the number of teenagers stabbed to death in London hits an eleven-year high.
As well as promising to cut violent crime, Shaun wants to focus on building homes that ordinary Londoners can afford, investing in London’s transport network and protecting London’s economy.
Liberal Democrats: Siobhan Benita
Merton-born Siobhan Benita is the final ‘factory candidate’ from the three main parties. Aiming to become London’s first female mayor. She was inspired to join the Liberal Democrats after the EU Referendum result. Before that she worked successfully in the Civil Service, joining the Department for Transport as part of the Fast Stream in 1996, and played a key role in creating a network for women in the public sector called Tabelle.
This is her first mayoral election as a Liberal Democrat Candidate. Her first was in 2012 as an independent. Just before Christmas she proposed that the £400 million pounds of unused Oyster Card credit should be donated to charities who help rough sleepers.
Greens: Sian Berry
Sian Berry is the candidate for the Green Party, joining. After graduating with a Master of Engineering from Oxford University in 1997, she moved to London at the age of 23.
Four years later she joined the Green Party. Since then she has become a local councillor for Camden and has since taken on several key roles within the organisation such as Campaigns Co-ordinator and Principle Speaker, succeeding Caroline Lucas. She has stood as mayoral candidate three times; in 2008, 2014 and 2016.
Outside of politics Sian worked for the Campaign for Better Transport advocacy group and is the author of multiple books on how to live a greener life.
Independent: Rory Stewart
Twenty years ago, in the film Gladiator, Derek Jacobi’s Gracchus said that ‘Rome is the mob’. According to Rory Stewart, London is 700 villages. This is not to mock the centrist Independent candidate. The former MP for Penrith and the Border, made his mark during the Conservative Leadership election last year and is one of the reasons why this election is a must watch.
In a recent interview with The London Economic, Stewart said it was all about ‘breaking it down to much smaller units’. This starts with his campaign being called London Speaks, to find out specifically what Londoners in each borough want. Running third in the polls, Stewart will not be a main contender for victory.
But stranger things have happened in politics before …