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Catherine Wallace

I'm sorry but no experience managing big public sector or even big private sector projects.

Candidate in much-more-Tory-than-London Hove, where his vote went down 2% as a percentage of all votes compared to even the 2001 General Election disaster.

Only elected office to date, like Victoria and Warwick, as a local councillor. This is a 5 million plus-elector election.

No ordinary voter has ever heard of him.

Ken Livingstone would eat him for breakfast.

Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch)

Catherine, you might want to see this:


Westminster Tory

His ego is bigger than his brain.


I've published Westminster Tory's cheap attack but I won't be approving any more such comments. Negative and positive comments are welcome but let's rise above the playground please.

In response to Westminster Tory I strongly dispute any suggestion that Nick lacks intelligence. He has put Policy Exchange on the think tank map. He has a successful record in business and is a genuinely nice guy.

We know little of his policy agenda yet - as he readily admits - but some of Policy Exchange's considerable output may point the way...

Mr 126

Why can't we get someone big to go for the big job?

I'm not going to bother reading what Boles has to say.

And not Norris again. Norris wasn't exactly big even when we were in power.

Portillo is reticent to get involved but at least we've heard of him.

Maybe a blue celebrity would stick their neck out, now that the tide has changed.

John Hustings

I never understand why people like Nick Boles think *their* kind of conservativism is more popular with voters. I don't think there's ever been a big demand for aimless trendy liberalism amongst the wider public.


I really do not understand the constant knocking of new or as yet not widely-known politians that is evident in some of the comments that arise on these pages.

To state the 'bleedin' obvious': everyone has to start somewhere, find themselves a platform and get to work. Victoria Borwick has had one stab at the Mayoralty and (justifiably in my view) didn't get very far, but she's entitled to another go.

I'd like to hear more about Warwick Lightfoot and Nick Boles, and to give them a FAIR CHANCE to set out their wares before the whingers and the whiners ruin their work to make the Tories electable again.


"Why can't we get someone big to go for the big job? "

Because whoever stands is on to a hiding for nothing. There is no real appetite to get rid of Ken.

This will be a tricky one for Cameron. After Bromley, the party concluded that he should play a much bigger part in future elections. "We need to use David more" as Francis Maude noted afterwards.

If Cameron throws himself into this one,the inevitable defeat will be thrown back at him, but if he hides, he'll be blamed for not doing enough.


I would guess that negative commenters on this thread have already made up their minds about who they will support and are knocking the opposition.

Boles is charismatic, clever and sophisticated. He is good on the media and has definite views. He would draw the sting from a Ken attack, and be in a good position to counter strongly. in short...he appeals....


Chad, you keep making unsubstantiated comments that there is no real appetite to get rid of Ken. No real appetite from whom?


Agree with Hmmmmm. Why is everybody obsessed with the idea that we need a celebrity politician to counter Ken? We don't. We need someone who is prepared to work hard, take a few risks, and develop a positive agenda.


Hi Rob,

I think this site has been the only source I have seen that seems to be determined that Ken needs to go.

If you have any independent polls etc that show that the Tories are in with a shout then please share them.

Far from unsubstantiated, I work in the City, have daily news and economic reports, and work with a bunch of Tories. Everyone seems happy enough with Ken.

However, I'll bet you £50 (for the TPA) that the Tory candidate does not win the mayoral election if you would like to bacvk up your view with a wager.

Tory Solicitor

People who think the mayoral race is a forgone conclusion are too negative.

It's important to remember a. that the turnout in previous mayoral races has been very low; and b. the conservative electoral success in the May local elections (the only place we didn't do well was Lambeth!); and c. People will be suffering from Ken fatigue ; and d. labour voters are so disillusioned that they will struggle to get their activists and vote out.


Presumably Chad thinks we shouldnt field a candidate at all then, and he will be voting for Ken.

Part of the purpose of standing in a democractic election is not just winning, its actually having the debate of ideas, testing candidates' thinking, and trying to swing the zeitgeist your way. Whatever happens, the mayoral campaign will be an important contribution to a future general election success, and we shouldnt underestimate the momentum it would build.


So Chad your judgement that there is 'no real appetite to get rid of Ken' is based on the views of narrow set of city types and whatever newspaper you happen to be reading. Very scientific. Tory solicitors analysis is a much better starting point.


"and whatever newspaper "
That newspaper being the London Evening Standard that as any regular reader will know is no fan of Ken.

So, I take it from that, you'll be backing up your view by taking me up on the bet Rob? Or is it all bluster! :-)


I think that the Tory idea of having an open primary is a very good idea to raise the profile of any potential candidate to try and defeat Red Ken.

I am not the hopeless optimistic that will believe all is needed is 'one big push'. I think that what is required for the Tories to claim victory is to make the race a near-run thing. To make Red Ken actually try and win the election instead of making it a quasi-coronation.

With Boles' candidature, the Tories have a person with some intellectual weight (which is critical for the metropolitan press to take them seriously). With the primary system, there will be press coverage of the Tory candidates and in this age where the party machine increasingly imposes its will upon not only party members but also the general population, the people of London would welcome the opportunity to have a choice of their preferred candidate in the Mayoral election.


I would also welcome Boles application.He seems one of our partys good guys.Obviously a deep thinker he will have to sharpen his campaigning skills against a nakedly populist Mayor.
I haven't seen any recent polls at all looking at Livingstones poularity Chad.Personally I find it highly embarassing that such a person is Mayor of our capital city.

Scott Colvin

I'd be delighted if Nick became Conservative Mayoral candidate. Very likeable, very bright and a modern campaigner.

His advantage is similar to that of Cameron vs. Brown. In both instances, we know who the more experienced figure is. But Cameron and Boles have the ability to better connect with the electorate.


I am amazed at Chad's comment...the Conservatives nearly won the last London Mayor election and since then, the Party has surged in this city at the expense of Labour.

It would be nice to have an experienced candidate and is a household name.

Michael Howard comes to mind. Yes- seriously.


NB is v close to DC and that would be a big advantage. There would be no risk of the mayoral candidate being at odds with the party leader as happened with Steve Norris' first failed bid. An NB bid would be one way of gaining more attention to the party's change agenda. NB is a leading moderniser but he is also close to the social justice wing of the party. Many Cornerstoners respect him. I think he could be an attractive candidate.

Donal Blaney

The Party needs to choose horses for courses: Nick would not be the right man to choose for a seat for Romford or Warrington but his values and outlook are very in tune with London - "the world in one city", as Ken calls it.

From what I know of Nick it would seem that he is very much in the Cameron mould and even Cameron's strongest critic must recognise that Cameroonianism worked well in May in the local elections and the modernising agenda seems to be resonating well in London (albeit that it is not resonating well in the North or among C2 traditional Tory supporters who are crying out for tax cuts, a smaller state and tougher law and order policies).

While many of us may wish that a Coe, Branson or Clarkson might come into the fray, it would seem that Nick Boles is the strongest of the declared candidates so far.

James Wilson

"Many Cornerstoners respect him. I think he could be an attractive candidate."

This and the rest of this person's remarks show how CCHQ doesn't understand this election at all.

It doesn't matter what reactionary MPs in Cornerstone or anyone else thinks of him.

This is about LONDON. Londoners couldn't care less if Cornerstone disappeared under a bus tomorrow.

Our party needs a heavyweight candidate to take on Ken Livingstone. Boles, Borwick and Lightfoot are not.

But perhaps this is the kind of nonsense we should expect from people who are calling Jeremy Clarkson and Carol Thatcher?

Justin Hinchcliffe

London is a liberal city, although an increasing number of Londoners from all nationalities, classes, etc you get the picture) are taking a more conservative line on immigration (see my post on the Howard thread). Nick's conservatism would go down very in the capital - our "core voters" in places like Romford and Enfield will vote for us regardless but we need to be gaining support in places like Camden, Haringey, Lambeth and Southwark. So far, Nick is the best candidate - let us hope we've got a good list to choose from.

Don Jameson

I won't be convinced that Mr Boles has a snowflake's chance until he's been roundly denounced from the pulpit by Stormin' Norman Tebbit.


Just been to the Policy Exchange website. Interesting that one of their major areas of focus has been localism. With publications on things like the Met, saving Routemaster and local government, it would seem that Boles is really passionate about what decisions taken closer to people can do.

I've seen Boles talk before on television and at conference. Despite running a think tank he wears his intellect lightly and seems very engaging and charismatic.

Good to see we have another high quality candidate. We really need to get Ken out..

Cllr. Gavin Ayling

Nicholas Boles would be an excellent candidate for London Mayor and as Editor said, the output of the Policy Exchange is optimistic and good stuff.

Boles as Mayor could put London back on the world's map for good reasons rather than because of hosting extremely nasty Islamofacists and penalising infrequent car drivers.

Justin Hinchcliffe

It's only a matter of time

James Burdett

The problem with the London mayor candidate selection is that the Mayoralty is a stock import from the US. The UK doesnt have the same kind of political set-up as the US, we have rarel had local celebrities in London or anywhere else like they tend to in the US. So for all parties seeking a candidate it is hard to find anyone who will make people look up from their cornflakes. Labour obviously has a massive edge because Ken is a celeb candidate with political wieght, albeit that he has some terrible policies.

We need to be grooming political celebrities in London and elsewhere with large scale mayoralties, one or two individuals who pop up in the local press all the time with a good idea or a reaction. As for NB, I have not really come into contact with him, he seems a good prospect, however still lacking that cornflake factor!

Denise Warren

Nice guy, but we can't send some think tank guy from the Westminster Village up against the man who has run London for 13 years.

What would it say about our party--the party we are telling everyone is on its way back--if we don't have a serious experienced candidate to take on Ken Livingstone?

Let's have someone who can hold their own against Mayor Livingstone please.


This is a MORI poll on Londoner's view of Ken's performance near the end of 2005

The reflects the feeling that I have expressed here that most people think he is doing OK, with just 30% expressing dissatisfaction.

Andrew O'Leary

Four days to go and three people whose only political success has been being eletcted as a local councillor.

Come on Conservative Party!

How can we credibly claim we are about to win a general election if we don't have a candidate with the stature to take on Ken Livingstone?

Where are the heavyweight candidates?


I am pleased to see serious politicians coming forward not celebrities. We tried a true blue Celebrity - and that wasn't a good idea - Steve Norris at least had a strong political background though his last effort was weakened by his Jarvis connection.

Ken won as a famous face for a job most Londoners see as a PR post for the region, part of what we must do is show its a vital role that needs a real politician and we are offering that.


..the paper on thaty poll had turned yellow through age...and anyway, it turned out to be spectacularly wrong in May 2006.

Sue Carter

I voted for David Cameron in the leadership election but I couldn't vote for Nick Boles. I'm worried no-one will bother with our primary if we present them the three candidates who have announced so far.

It's obvious as Tim Hames writes in The Times today that we need a heavyweight candidate with the experience to be a credible Mayor.

Nick Boles couldn't even win Hove. How is he ever going to beat Ken Livingstone?

london tory


If that poll were an accurate guide to voting intentions, Ken Livingstone would have won the last Mayoral election with 47% of the vote (reported fairly satisfied plus very satisfied respondents).

In fact, he won little over 36% in 2004.

That said, I don't believe he will be quaking in his boots at the prospect of someone who has written research papers about the Met and the Routemaster.

We have to have someone who is a match for Livingstone. So far all we have is three people who are, or have been, elected local councillors in safe Tory wards.

It will look terrible if, after eleven years in opposition, we can't come up with a credible, competitive candidate against Livingstone.

Tory bunny

Good to hear Nick Boles putting himself forward. I don't know enough about him to endorse him, but he is definitely a useful addition to the field of candidates, and probably the front-runner of the three.


Hi Eugene, I'm sure few people would ever believe that a vote for Ken is the same as a vote for the Labour Party.

Sure, he has moved inside again to consolidate his position, but Ken's popularity has nothing to do with the Labour party nor its unpolularity reflected on Ken.

I'm not Ken's cheerleader, but there is a real drift from reality from many here, but clearly not from higher profile candidates who realise it is best to steer clear of this election.

Ken is in no-one but Ken's team, I think we all know that. Some loathe him, but overall, most Londoners think he is doing OK.

In short, you have a long-standing mayor who won the role by standing up to the Labour Party, has only a minority dissatisfied with his performance, and his rival candidate has to fund their own election.

Start preparing your excuses now!

John Hustings

"Nick Boles couldn't even win Hove. How is he ever going to beat Ken Livingstone?"



Although he's no heavyweight, and its a big ask for a relative novice, Boles' entry definitely improves matters a lot for us in this race after gloom over w/e (imagine Norris again !):

* Boles runs a respected London-based policy think tank, Policy Exchange, which ought to have given him an arsenal of ideas for a Mayoral campaign, as well as making political and other media commentators warm to him

* he has his own small business, I think, the experience of which he ought to be able to make good use of in any campaign

* he's had TV exposure - being a regular on Newsnight et al - and comes across on TV as articulate, nice and energetic

* if handled well, he could be presented as part of the future, making Ken look dated (no mean feat for a Tory)

* even if there is no strong current desire to get rid of Ken as opposed to being mildly dissatisfied with him (and I agree with previous postings on this), after 18mths of pushing Boles' profile a slogan of "Give Nick a Chance" could well appeal to jaded Londoners tiring of the old Trot

So yes - the competition is at last (thankfully) hotting up - now who else will come out of the woodwork this week to give Boles a run for his money ?

Graham D'Amiral

I'm delighted Nick Boles has put his name forward, we'll see over time how strong a candidate he is but as far as I'm concerned the greater the choice we have the better it is.


Tim Hames is spot-on (echoing the message from this site a few months ago): "Why on earth did nominations have to open and shut so ludicrously early?".

As I pointed out on this site back when the timetable was first mooted and complained of: this fixes it for Nick Boles.

From what little I know of NB, he's a clever, honest, likeable person, and he may make a superb mayor. But the suspicion has to be that he 'represents' what the leadership would like to 'message', rather than that he can really win for London.

As Time Hames goes on: "If Democrats and Republicans in the United States were to adopt the Tory timetable then their White House challengers for November 2008 would have to be endorsed by April 2007. It is utter madness.... It could also be a humiliation."


I'm afraid that Ken Livingstone would destroy Nick Boles - Ken Livingstone's track record as a politician is second to none; has he ever lost an election? Has Nick ever won one?

I'd have any Conservative as Mayor instead of him, but in order to win we need a really impressive candidate with serious credentials. None of the three so far declared meet those criteria.

Graeme Archer

Absolutely delighted that a serious, clever, decent, liberal Tory has entereed the race. At last someone I can actually imagine developing a vision for London. Hopefully more quality candidates will emerge in the last few days.


Time for a reality check - there are no Tory bighitters in London (or at least none that would take on the fight for the Mayoralty). In fact the only 4 I could think of classing as Big Hitters would be - Michael Portillo, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Seb Coe, and Iain Duncan Smith.

The likes of Ivan Massow or Margot James might be worth a punt, but I don't see why they'd want to put themselves through it.

So far, Nick Boles looks like the best so far in the field. I can at least imagine him as a credible candidate.


Why do many people seem to be making the assumption that only a 'big-hitter' could beat Ken Livingstone. Does anyone honestly believe that messrs Portillo, Rifkind, or IDS or others that have been mentioned would not provide easy targets for Livingstone. They are all stuck in the past, have fought their fights and lost. We need to face the future.

Sell Side

Low turnout, a potential for olympic-sized tax bills, a mayor who can be accused of waste - there's everything to play for.

It's a shame that Portillo seems close to Cameron, as I feel an independent Portillo in a huff with the Conservatives, would be stronger than a Tory Portillo. Londoners seem to like those who seem ill at ease with the party line.

Seb Coe, made noble before his time, discredited as Hague's chief of staff, but was a big factor in winning the games. IDS - oh please. Sir Malcolm, nice guy, but he's finished - his son's hotter property than him.

Boles is the best of the three, but it looks like a scheme to get his name around and pick up a safer seat than he's otherwise due. Clever thinking though. Maybe we shouldn't rule him out.

Political Animal

Iain Duncan Smith? Was that a serious comment? I don't think a more light weight option exists... as for Nick Boles' selling point... I cannot believe nobody has mentioned how slim David Cameron's credentials are. He's been an MP for 5 minutes and has equally little to say for himself.

Since the new qualification is how little expereince you have... He must therefore be a winner.

Susie Hall

Nick Boles could not defeat Livingstone. That is obvious.

The plain fact is that the Conservatives need someone who has the political strength to defeat Livingstone. An ex-local councillor who spends his--I am sure very worthy--days at an obscure think tank is not goint to come close to removing the biggest fixture in British politics.

Mayoral policy adviser mayble. Mayor or Mayoral candidate. Come off it.

James Schneider

The man has some obvious qualities: he is presentable, media-friendly, articulate, and intelligent. As of yet he is not very high profile, but this could change. Let's see what policies he produces, and what reception London gives him, whilst holding out for Botham (Iain Dale's secret wish) to throw his hat into the ring.

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