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Londoner

So, we are selecting candidates for safe Labour GLA Assembly seats before we are even near to having a Mayoral candidate.

Come on Boris, the time is ripe to declare!! By the end of the week-end get Cameron and your constituency officers to agree that you won't have to decide whether it's compatible to continue as an MP until six months after you are elected Mayor, and declare on Monday morning. It would be fun (for you and for Londoners) anyway.

PSG

Boris Johnson is an incompetent buffoon.

Steve Norris is the only credible London Mayor the Tories have got.

Phil Whittington

I think the last poster is wrong. Boris is anything but incompetent. He has a carefully crafted media persona which has been the key to his success. I do agree, however, that this persona is incompatible with a 'presidential'-type office - but ideal for being in Westminster, which I suspect is Johnson's true ambition.

Re Steve Norris - he always did media very well, but had an unfortunate nickname due to his "extra-curricular" activities which were always going to get him into trouble. I'm sure he's an OK guy, but we CANNOT field the same candidate a third time. Even Kinnock fought and lost only two elections before he chucked it in.

I think we need to convince Portillo to stand. He is, admittedly, sometimes a devisive figure in the party, but only on issues that the purvue of London Mayor (even now) doesn't really cover.

The choice for the next London Mayor is Portillo or Livingstone and we need to accept that!


Lucy

Boris Johnson and Steve Norris have a lot in common.

Sean Fear

"The choice for the next London Mayor is Portillo or Livingstone and we need to accept that!"

That's like a choice between strychnine and cyanide.

Londoner

If Boris J might not want to do it, Portillo certainly doesn't and has said so many times. Norris is good but the same two main candidates 3 times in a row is a turn-off; also I think his previous root and branch opposition to the congestion charge is a disadvantage now, because few can seriously imagine it being abolished.

Whilst Boris is well suited to being a Parliamentarian, I am not so sure he is to being a Minister, particularly surviving as a junior one, with collective responsibility and the need to defer to less clever superiors etc. As Mayor he can be more of a licenced independent, and there is a strong streak of showmanship required for a post which is in many areas more appearance than real powers. Crucially he is personally popular and his vote would be higher than the normal Conservative vote on the day.

On my hythothesis he could stay an MP and in fact be more listened to on specific issues when he speaks in the House, including on matters affecting London, with a substantive post and without the risk of dropping such a policy clanger or unscripted comment about a fellow Minister that he had to resign. He could also justify staying in the House as being a way to keep the pressure on for London (and the S East, remembering Henley) getting a fairer share of the public expenditure/tax cake etc, arguing that Livingstone has been pathetically unsuccessful in that crucial role.

Then, having done the job for 4 years whilst grooming the profile of some excellent Deputy to take over, if he decides he still wants to do Westminster long term, he can give up being Mayor and take up a well-earned place in the Cabinet without the inconvenience of ever having to be a junior Minister.

The more I write on this, the more I convince myself. Anyone got a better idea?

Londoner

Re your comment at 4:46pm Lucy: we are not elected a model husband, but a Mayor. Actually what they have in common is having had untidy private lives with the knack of it not derailing their political life - not a bad knack to have.

To defend Norris - since he remarried there has not been any hint of marital misbehaviour and you can be absolutely sure it would have been all over the papers if there had been any.

PSG

"Even Kinnock fought and lost only two elections before he chucked it in."

Not at all. Kinnock resigned, like William Hague and Michael Howard in our party, because he knew that a challenge from one of his credible parliamentary colleagues was inevitable in the wake of that 1992 defeat.

The London Mayoral situation is not remotely comparable. Indeed, we have the opposite problem to that which made the decision for Kinnock and some of our previous leaders in parliament: as of today there are no quality candidates who actually want the job!

Also, I don't think you shun a good quality candidate and potential Mayor because of their private life, but neither Portillo nor Johnson have kept theirs out of the papers.

Duncan Webster

I think CCHQ is right to start asking people to apply for the GLA seats as we need to get people out campaigning in the seats well before the election. I hope we get some good applicants for London North East!

Oliver Munn

Back to the Assembly elections for a moment, a few observations.

Four of the seats listed are currently Tory-held: Bexley and Bromley (Bob Neill MP), Croydon and Sutton (Andrew Pelling MP), Merton and Wandsworth (Elizabeth Howlett) and West Central (Angie Bray).

Bob Neill and Andrew Pelling are obviously concentrating on their parliamentary duties and Angie Bray has been selected as the PPC for the newly-created constituency of Ealing Central and Acton (three-way marginal with a notional Con maj of just 84). I assume that Elizabeth Howlett has taken the decision to retire.

A fifth seat is highly marginal: Enfield and Haringey which had a Labour majority in 2004 of only 1.2% (1,574 votes).

There are therefore five plum new openings for ambitious London Tories to take a run at. And, given that six former Assembly members have already made it to the House of Commons (in only six years!), I'm sure plenty of them will be tempted.

Helen Evans

"I think CCHQ is right to start asking people to apply for the GLA seats."

Perhaps. But much more importantly: when are they going to find someone impressive to run as the Mayoral candidate? Personally, I don't think they have to start campaigning right away. We might be thinking about the Mayoral election on this site, but Londoners won't focus on it until it is a few months or weeks away. But making sure we are not embarassed by Borwick, Boles, Lightfoot or any of the other non-enteties in May '08 has surely got to be a more pressing priority.

Why don't CCHQ approach Norris, Portillo (and anyone else who has actually run a big chunk of government, been battle-tested in the media spotlight and has won something more in their careers than a local council seat) and just say OK, tell us what it would take for you to get in this race and run?

Matt Davis

Steve Norris has fought for and lost the London Mayoralty twice now, and the second time his commitment to the campaign and tactics were questionable and his business links to Jarvis used very effectively against him.I have a lot of admiration for Steve and think that he would make an excellent Mayor but that is not the same as being an excellent candidate and that is what we must have first and foremost if we are to win.

We have absolutely got to have someone different this time, and not Boris, bless him, either.

Paul Watkins

Listened to John Bird at a seminar yesterday in Ashford. Kept mentioning his London Mayoral aspirations.

Was it a spoof that David Cameron was ready to do a deal or endorse with him?

Dan Bonera

I feel that Portillo should be the very last choice. The Michael Portillo that's on TV and is charming and easy going is very different from the one that was a cabinet minister. Anyone who worked closely with him will tell you about his temper tantrums and extreme mood swings. I doubt if he has the personality to work the campaign or actually do the job if elected.

I think the Party has got to stop looking for `celebrity' candidates. It would make more sense to have someone who actually knows a lot about London and local government. By having a candidate that has a proven track record at local authority level the Party can persuade the London electorate that they can actually improve London by voting for a Conservative Mayoral candidate.

Justin Hinchcliffe

I agree with PSG, Norris is the only credible candidate we have at the moment, although John Bird looks good on paper.

Sticking to the actual thread, Enfield-Haringey is indeed a highly marginal seat which we should win in 2008. Peter Forrest, our last candidate, worked like a trooper with little or no support from one (important) Association. Sadly, Peter has decided to retire from front-line politics. We will be looking for somebody to match Peter's commitment and hard work! People who think it's *only* worth campaigning in 'nice' areas such as Winchmore Hill need not apply.

John Marsh

Norris knows how to campaign and how to be Mayor. 2004 suffered from being held on the same day as the Euros, generating a big UKIP vote. Nonetheless, the Norris vote went up. That of the GLA candidates went down.

Simon Fawthrop

My thanks to those many supporters out there that have already registered on the Fawthrop for Mayor Web Site. I'm pleased that I have attracted more support than any other candidate so far. What is more the majority of support seem to be ordinary people not political hacks. Anyone who thinks for one moment that I will not be high profile if selected is very mistaken. However the big name theorists overlook the baggage that comes with this type of distinguished title. I am more convinced than ever that the candidate does not matter, what does matter is getting is getting 20% of the Greater London electorate to vote for you.

For those who know my history I have always performed better than the Conservative Party's opinion poll rating in public elections ands all without being well know.

Without being too much of a bore if anyone wishes to contact me at [email protected], I can give more details.

However whilst the media have their eyes averted, my campaign makes progress and I may well be speaking at an event near you soon.

Helen Wright

"However whilst the media have their eyes averted, my campaign makes progress and I may well be speaking at an event near you soon."

Could this get any more farcical?

Graham D'Amiral

It's understandable that the Mayoral selection attracts more attention, but the GLA candidate selections are also important not least because the candidates must front the London campaign locally. If we can elect a conservative mayor and a conservative run assembly we would be in a strong position to undo the damage mayor Livingstone has inflicted on the capital.

Joe James Broughton

I can't speak for incontinent Buff Hoons, but if TfL have placed an order for another 1,600 Bendy Buses, then there's a big job to do putting that right if they arrive before June 2008.

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