Londoners will decide next year who they want to run the nation’s capital. 12 candidates have entered the race, with more almost certain to join as the election draws closer.
So who is in the running and what do the polls say about who will be next to run the city?
*NB – following a decision by the UK government, the London mayoral election will not take place until 2021 as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Sadiq Khan – Labour
Sadiq Khan is the incumbent Mayor of London and the Labour candidate for the 2021 election. Formerly the MP for Tooting, Khan served briefly as Transport Minister under Gordon Brown and is described as being on the centre-left of the Labour Party.
Whilst in office, Khan has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump and Brexit for its effect on the capital, launched the Night Tube service on the London Underground and backed plans to expand London City Airport.
However, Khan has come under criticism for an increase in knife crime in London, with more than 15,000 offences reported in the city so far this year.
Shaun Bailey – Conservatives
Shaun Bailey is a Conservative member of the London Assembly and was selected as the Tory candidate for London Mayor last year.
Bailey is fighting his campaign of making London safer for residents, calling for more police on the streets and taking a zero-tolerance approach towards gang activity.
However, he has faced controversy over remarks he made in the past, referring to Sadiq Khan as the mayor of ‘Londonistan’ in a tweet in 2017.
Sian Berry – Green Party
Sian Berry is co-leader of the Green Party and leader of the party in the London Assembly. She also ran for the position of London Mayor in 2016, coming third with 5.8 percent.
As well as calling for greater action on cleaner air in the capital, she backs the introduction of rent controls and opposes further airport expansion in London – including the proposed third runway at Heathrow.
To Be Announced – Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are currently looking for a replacement candidate for the London mayoral race, after their chosen nominee stood aside.
Their original candidate, Siobhan Benita, is a former civil servant who previously ran for London Mayor as an independent in 2012, before joining the Liberal Democrats shortly after the EU referendum.
Mandu Reid – Women’s Equality Party
Mandu Reid is the leader of the Women’s Equality Party and has been described as the first black and bisexual leader of a UK political party. Reid became the candidate for the party in February this year after provisional candidate Professor Sue Black was forced to withdraw from the race due to complications from a vaginal mesh implant.
The Women’s Equality Party, which campaigns for equal rights and opportunities for women, came sixth at the last mayoral election with two percent.
Winston McKenzie – Unity In Action
Winston McKenzie is the former Commonwealth spokesman for UKIP and former member of the English Democrats. In 2017, he formed his own party – Unity In Action. However, the party’s website lists no policies of pledges for his campaign.
Rosalind Readhead – Independent
Rosalind Readhead is an environmental activist, who has spent five years campaigning for private cars to be banned from London.
Her campaign focuses on the climate emergency and demands a hierarchy for energy use, regular car-free days to cut emissions and free trees for every garden. Readhead also supports a ban on automation in motor vehicles and the introduction of a universal basic income.
Charlie Mullins – Independent
Charlie Mullins is a businessman and the founder of the London-based plumbing firm Pimlico Plumbers. The company attracted national attention last year displaying a ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ sign at its premises in Waterloo.
Mullins was a former Conservative Party donor until 2018, when he announced his plans to fund the Liberal Democrats to try and stop Brexit and his intention to run as a candidate in the London mayoral election.
He has pledged he would make travel free for all registered apprentices under the age of 25, as well as basing an ambassador for London in Brussels.
Drillminister – Indepdendent
A rapper based in the capital, Drillminister announced his intention to run in the mayoral election in January.
In an interview with Victoria Derbyshire, he explained he aims to fight discrimination in the media during his campaign and represent the ‘democracy of what Londoners want’. He is campaigning to reduce homelessness, improve transport, diversify the Metropolitan Police force and improve air quality in the city.
David Kurten – Independent
‘Brexit Alliance’ member of the London Assembly, Kurten was originally elected as a UKIP candidate but quit the party earlier this year.
Kurten, who has previously been criticised for suggesting homosexuality could be linked to paedophilia, has said he would have a zero tolerance approach to crime, scrap the Cycle Super Highway and opposes moves to improve air quality as action would be damaging for business in the capital.
Nims Obunge – Independent
54-year-old pastor and charity worker Nims Obunge is running as mayor on a platform of tackling London’s issues with violent crime.
Count Binface – Independent
A satirical candidate portrayed by comedian Jon Harvey, Count Binface announced his intention to run in the mayoral election in London in February. Binface had previously run for election in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in last year’s general election – he came seventh with 69 votes.
Harvey went viral during the 2017 general election for standing in Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead as ‘Lord Buckethead’. However, a dispute with the originator of the character resulted in the creation of Binface as a new persona.
Binface has pledged to finish the Crossrail project, provide free parking between Vine Street and the Strand in Westminster for electric vehicles, rename London Bridge to Phoebe Waller, after the Fleabag actress, and have the capital join the European Union.
However, he does not rate his chances of winning the race, saying in a YouTube video that Labour candidate Sadiq Khan is “obviously going to win it”.
He is currently crowdfunding the £10,000 deposit needed to run for election as mayor and has promised to donate any money over the target to the charity Shelter.
Other potential candidates
A selection of other political parties have run for London Mayor in the past but have yet to announce their candidate for the election. The Brexit Party, which won close to 18 percent in the European elections last year in the capital, have also not announced a candidate as yet; the party’s future is unclear following Britain’s exit from the European Union, although party leader Nigel Farage suggested the party would be renamed to the ‘Reform Party’.
Rory Stewart, former Conservative MP, had intended to run in the election as an independent candidate but announced his withdrawal from the race on May 6th 2020.
The most recent opinion poll gives Labour a strong lead of 20 percent ahead of the Conservatives in the first round. The Liberal Democrats are set to overtake the Greens for third place with 12 percent, with Green co-leader Sian Berry on 9 percent.
Should Khan not win in the first round, Labour are set to comfortably beat the Conservatives in the run-off and retain the mayoralty; such a result would be the largest margin of victory for any candidate since elections first started in 2000.