What to expect from Labour’s mayoral hustings

Candidates need to show they have the pragmatism and vision to lead the UK's most successful city


Tomorrow sees the first hustings between the final shortlist of Labour party candidates for the 2016 mayoral election. After weeks of CLP nominations, culminating in a party interview process which took place this Saturday, the Labour party announced their shortlist.

The six potential candidates still standing – Diane Abbott, Tessa Jowell, Sadiq Khan, David Lammy, Gareth Thomas and Christian Wolmar – are seen as occupying positions across the entire Labour spectrum.

With all the big hitters still in contention some will see a party uncertain as to who can best represent it; others will see a party with an enviable surfeit of qualified and well-liked candidates.

The lead-up to the 2016 mayoral election takes place against a backdrop of looming political questions. The recent reading of the Devolution Bill featured just one mention of London. Unsurprisingly, this was attributable to Diane Abbott, a leading mayoral contender.

While parliament talks of metro mayors and a Northern Powerhouse, the question of how to keep London at the top of the national agenda should be at the forefront of candidates’ minds.

Making the case for devolution in manifestos and stump speeches is one thing. Making the case to Number 10 for more power to the UK’s most successful city is another task altogether.

While no date has yet been set, MPs voted overwhelmingly in support of a referendum on EU membership last week. London’s mayors have a tradition of speaking out in favour of immigration, championing the city’s diversity and ability to attract skilled workers from all over the world.

With so much of London’s trade, investment and talent tied up in the EU (and vice versa), Labour’s candidate must demonstrate they can make the case for remaining in Europe.

What then can we expect from the first hustings of the final Labour candidates? Issues-wise, London’s housing crisis looks set to dominate discussion.

At a time when voters of all backgrounds are feeling the effects of London’s housing shortage, Labour’s candidates would do well to come armed with policies rather than platitudes.

Inequality is another popular theme among candidates. The ‘tale of two cities’ trope, lifted from Dickens so successfully in Bill de Blasio’s New York campaign, has featured in articles and speeches by no fewer than five of the six shortlisted candidates.

Hopefully this week’s hustings will provide candidates with an opportunity to set themselves apart and to present some meaningful solutions to London’s inequality problem.

Beyond the philosophical issues of housing and inequality, candidates are likely to be grilled on more prosaic choices currently dominating London politics, including funding of the Garden Bridge, expansion of Heathrow or Gatwick and introduction of a London minimum wage.

Candidates will need to show enough pragmatism to make such decisions in the short-term, and enough vision to show they can lead London in the long-term.

Tomorrow evening, Centre for London hosts the shortlisted candidates in a public hustings. Let’s hope that it is just the beginning of an engaged and ambitious mayoral contest.

Kat Hanna is Research manager at Centre for London. On Tuesday 16 June Centre for London hosts a public hustings for the potential Labour mayoral candidates. Find out more here.

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10 Responses to “What to expect from Labour’s mayoral hustings”

  1. JodiTOberg

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  2. Torybushhug

    I know just what we need in view of the housing shortage, masses more immigrants. All those shiny new homes being shown off on Facebook by immigrants will attract even more here. How enriching,

  3. David Lindsay

    As expected, George Galloway’s campaign for London Mayor is concentrating heavily on the 25,000 or so votes in the families of taxi drivers hit by Uber, fanning out to everyone who feels that London just wouldn’t be London without the black hackney carriages. That is a very good place to start.

    Even Breitbart seems to be warming to a man whom much of the Right regards as a lovable old rogue, and who is in fact a personal friend of Nigel Farage’s. No UKIP candidate against him? After all, he has already sewn up one of its most obvious constituencies. And why would UKIP even want the London Mayorality?

    Sadiq Khan looks likely to be the Labour nominee, and it looks as if Syed Kamall will be entering the Conservative fray. They had both better get their acts together on the transport issue. And we all know that only a Muslim can beat George Galloway. He has never lost to anyone who was not a Muslim.

  4. AlmaRBaker

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  5. AlanGiles

    Piss off, scammer

  6. AlanGiles

    Another brainless parrot.

  7. AlanGiles

    I just hope the public are not taken in by dear old “Dame” Tessa. I hope she is not allowed to forget the expensive presents from Berlusconi, the “colourful” husband from whom she is allegedly “seperated”, the remortgaging scandals and the expenses scandal. I hope and suspect the press will remind her. They should also remind her that her budget for the Olympics was a very deep under-estimate, so she can’t be trusted with budgets.

    Why do I hope this?. Because David Lammy, Sadiq Khan etc if they won in 2016 would no doubt want to try again in 2020. I suspect if Jowell wins, once her head has been swollen by the win, will be perfectly happy to hand over to drag artiste Eddie Izzard, in 2020 who will be a real disaster for Labour and London generally. The man is a Z list celebrity trying to buy the job with his donations.

  8. Selohesra

    Its remarkable how many different people seem to have the same idea for making money – perhaps there is something in it after all. Could this be the magic money tree we have all been looking for?

  9. VictoriaWHerrera

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  10. Saleem Shady

    Sadiq Khan was Ed Miliband’s right hand man. The stench of Miliband is all over him. The stench of failure and worthlessness. The stench of his support for convicted terrorist recruiter Babar Ahmed and sharing platforms with the fascist Islamist beheading apologist group CAGE too. Is the Labour Party really going to put this pathetic, Miliband lackey failure forward as its candidate?

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