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A look at Labour’s London line-up

8 January 2014

The open primary to choose the 2016 Labour candidate for London Mayor is a dot on horizon; but speculation is underway. Mr Steerpike has been reading the form.

Tessa Jowell, the former Olympics minister and outgoing MP for Dulwich, had a busy festive period: turning on the waterworks and displaying signs of Tourettes in this Guardian interview. Here is what she said in response to a question about those pressmen who say that her estrangement from her husband David Mills during his run-in with the Italian courts was manufactured:

‘Frankly, you know, those arseholes are so fucking rancid that I just hope every morning they wake up and think: ‘I’m ashamed of the job I do.’ To say that somehow I got up one morning and thought, ‘You know what I’m going to do today, I think I’m going to separate from my husband?’ Fuck off. There was a toe rag who slept in his little white van outside my house for six days, and it was doing my head in by the end of it. And for five days I was intimidated. And then I was coming out to go to the gym at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning, and there he was with his fucking, you know, penis-like lens, waving out of the window. Oh, it’s disgusting. And I went and I banged on the roof of his minivan and I said: “You fuck off out of here in 10 minutes or I’m calling the police.”’ 

Dame Tessa might need to work on that splenetic answer, because this topic will be revisited time and again if, as expected, she runs for City Hall.

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Another well-fancied cove is the shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan. The MP for Tooting has a compelling backstory, and was the first Muslim to join the Cabinet. But he may face some awkward questions about his association with Babar Ahmad, who pleaded guilty to terror charges in the US last month. Khan visited Ahmed in prison three times between 2004 and 2006. His last two visits were in a personal capacity under the Approved Visitors Scheme for Category A Prisoners: Khan and Ahmed were boyhood pals, you see. But Khan’s first visit was in a legal capacity. Incidentally, a government inquiry (called to examine why the last two visits were bugged by spooks) concluded that it did ‘not appear’ that Ahmed had instructed Khan as his solicitor.

Sketch-writers will be praying that Diane Abbott joins the fray. The TV star and part-time MP for Hackney was the joke candidate in the Labour leadership election and she has been linked with this race ever since her demotion from Labour’s frontbench. She denies any such ambition, of course.

If the lovely Diane stays true to her word, perhaps we can rely on David Lammy for entertainment. The man who was once described as ‘Britain’s answer to Barack Obama’ is said to be interested in running for mayor. Bill de Basio coasted to victory in New York recently with his ‘two cities’ campaign theme. Lammy, on the other hand, says: ‘London is a great city but while its economy works for some Londoners, it doesn’t work for all of them. It is a tale of two cities.’ Genius!

Transport is always at the centre of any London mayoral election because it’s one of the few areas that the mayor controls, so there might be some value in having a candidate who knows what they are talking about, transport-wise. Enter stage-Blairite, Lord Adonis. His ghostly pallor, baldness and arachnid frame do not exactly scream of electability; but it is hard to find any politico who dislikes this amiable brainiac. Perhaps his lordship will break the habit of a lifetime at last and stand for high office. We can but hope. Transport journalist Christian Wolmar has already thrown his hat into the ring, so the wonks are likely to trigger some interesting debate even if more a charismatic soul wins the day.

London is a Labour city and Boris has promised, for now, not to fight another term. It should be a walkover for one of the Labourites, so long as they don’t rip too many limbs off of each other in the long hard slog to the finish line…

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  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Apart from himself who described Lammy as ‘Britain’s answer to Barack Obama’ ? NuLabour tried him out in a couple of posts and he flunked miserably.

  • cambridgeelephant

    London is not a Labour City and Boris showed that.

    A good Labour candidate could win, true. But that shower are anything but ‘good’. The Conservatives should think hard about the succession to Bojo and if they get it right – admittedly a massive ‘if’ – they could still win.

  • crosscop

    Sadiq Khan? Wasn’t he one of the 7/7 suicide bombers?

  • DavidL

    Blimey, what an absolute shower! If that’s the best of the runners and riders, then come back Ken “Beacon of Islam” Livingstone; all is forgiven.

  • John Border

    Oh dear

    Shame on you. Galloway for Mayor!

  • Tim Reed

    “‘Frankly, you know, those arseholes are so fucking rancid that I
    just hope every morning they wake up and think: ‘I’m ashamed of the job I


  • Makroon

    It’s surprising that the “ego” AKA Saint Vince, hasn’t had a run at this. He has zero chance of being Chancellor/Foreign Secretary/Home Secretary in a Labour led government (apparently his heart’s desire), and he could pontificate endlessly on the City’s evils, the wicked Tories, the “immoral” bankers, etc etc

  • lojolondon

    What is rancid is a politician who lives with a crook, he gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar and moves out, the moment the heat is off he moves back and it turns out she had a mouth like a toilet all along!

  • Slicer

    Lord Adonis is an EU stooge working on breaking up England into EU regions, he and in fact all Labour candidates if elected to be mayor, will seek to further the EU’s balkanisation of England agenda.

  • keith

    i would like to put forward Norman Atkinson he was MP for Tottenham for 23 years and a good MP to, now i know he passed away last year but he would still have more life in him than the sad bunch put forward so far

  • Tom Tom

    Why can’t london pick an Illegal Immigrant as Candidate to show how inclusive the city is, or a Bulgarian ? they can be candidates in local elections

    • John Border

      Bulgarians arent illegal immigrants.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    David Lammy? Britains answer to B Obama? More like Britain’s answer to Al Jolson.

  • PeteCW

    I hope Galloway has a go – purely so the press can tear the little scumbag apart, of course.

    • Donafugata

      Be careful what you wish for, the Islamic republic of Tower Hamlets and several other areas would be able to find plenty of votes for the,as you rightly say, scumbag.

  • John Smith

    Anyone of them will solicit the call ‘Bring back Ken’

  • Makroon

    An absolutely classic Matt cartoon in the DT today, almost good enough to encourage one to read that rag/comic …. almost.
    Just saying.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Does Jowell understand the concept of role model?

    • Ringstone

      Never mind that, she doesn’t understand the concept of budgeting [like most of her Labour colleagues] – her initial bid for the Olympics was £2.37bn and the final bill was £8.92bn, a sum Londoners and their children will be paying off for decades – so Blair and Co could indulge in an international willy waving competition.
      The only problem is that Lammy, Britain’s answer to Obama, makes her look like a class act. The only thing I know about him is that, in the middle of a Papal Conclave, he didn’t know that a decision was signaled with black or white smoke [ and to make matters worse he was Minister For Higher Education in the last Labour government.
      As for Dianne Abbot…well I’d get moderated, but she’s rightly described as a joke – but not a funny one. She also has “graced” Labour’s cabinet table, you couldn’t make it up.
      What have Londoners done to deserve this bunch of chancers, misfits and over-promoted amateurs as one half of the Mayoral offer.
      Vote Izzard – he couldn’t be any worse.

  • zanzamander

    London (like any European capital) is a metropolis made up of immigrants from mainly Arab/Muslim countries and it bears very little relevance (I nearly said resemblance!) to the rest of the country. I’d say one Yusuf al-Qaradawi would be a very good candidate, oh yeah pin a red rosette (thanks Mirtha) on him first. He’s been here before as a red-carpeted guest of former London Mayor and says he liked it very much here. Think how good we’ll look in the eyes of the world! Obama might even reconsider us as his friends again. If he (old Qaradawi) is not available than Mr Khan will do nicely thank you very much.

  • Steve Race

    Andrew Adonis was of course an elected city councillor (SDP!) in Oxford for four years….

  • MirthaTidville

    cant think of a worse collection of lack lustre dolts than those that have been offered up.But as you say its a labour city so a donkey with a red rosette would certainly outshine the likes of Jowell and Abbott

    • Makroon

      I have a hunch that a lefty outsider with a good profile, might be the “people’s choice” for this one.
      Eddie Izzard. Makes the crew Steerpike mentions look just drab.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Methinks La Izzard is already positioning himself for a punt. He’s already pushed himself as a non left/right centrist reasonable person (i.e Guradian compliant) Laahndoner.

      • John Border

        Yes, George Galloway.

      • John Border

        How about George Galloway? A wonderful candidate. The only honest man in Parliament.

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