« Six mayoral candidates make the first cut | Main | Reservist Rotherham publishes his policing policy »


Graeme Archer

Primary Challenge. I suspect we can predict the outcome but I detest being told who 'my' candidate is without being able to express a choice. I believe there *is* genuine interest in the media about this new process we've embarked on and the primary process will raise our brand profile still further. Livingstone, frankly, must be ****ing himself just now, whatever thuggish bravado he will exhude. The more the spotlight is on the Conservatives the better. Finally, an important function of a primary is to road-test campaign ideas, manifesto pledges etc, prior to writing them into the final candidates' platform. Whoever is candidate is likely, in some sort of socratic challenge type paradigm, to have an improved platform as a result of the primary road-test.


There has to be a primary - now we have promised one. To avoid it sends our several messages:
- we never really believed in giving people the choice, it was just a gimmick.
- we don't care what people think, exacerbated by having said we did.
- it is very rude to the other candidates.
- are we worried a primary wouldn't pick Boris? If he needs protecting from a public selection vote, how well do we think he will fair in an election? I reckon he'd walk both, so why hide him from the primary?
- when we criticised Gordon Brown for his coronation we were the pot calling the kettle. I know his was more extreme, i.e. no general election, but it still won't play well in the media.


Boris should be given the support of teh entire party. A primary is a waste of time and simply gives the opposition potential amunition. Lets get on with it, with a brilliant candidate and go and beat ken.

Alex Crowley

If the other candidates had anything valid or relevant to say then a primary would be a must, in order to push Boris to fine tune an electable platform.

However, giving the current gaggle of abolitionists, fantasists and dinosaurs any publicity would be an embarrassment to the party and we would be better off having a coronation- a big risk as Boris could burn out, leaving us with nothing.

I say fasten your seatbelts, give Boris a coronation....



Are you sure about this?

Having the most active Tories in London frantically beating up support for votes in your ballot on the day of two Parliamentary By -election seem bad timing to me



William Norton

We attacked Gordon Brown for holding a coronation - I don't see how we can avoid a contest ourselves. A fight and an open primary would help whoever wins the nomination to build up momentum and be good PR for the Party.

We mocked Gordon Brown for a stuttering start at PMQs - and perhaps contested hustings would have enabled him to brush up on his technique?


There is no doubt that there should be a contest. Boris needs to be friendly fire tested. We need a debate about the future of London, look how well the Cameron vs Davis leadership worked in our favour, with lots of publicity and a great debate where the party should be heading.

Furthermore, there is the reason that the other candidates should be given their chance as well. A lot of them have put a great deal of time and effort into the campaigns already, it is only fair that they get a platform on which to present these views on.

This is not Labour, we should have internal debate, it is one of the positives about us, as we can see with Stand Up, Speak Up. We listen to one another and our leader does not just tell us to be quiet like the Great Clunking Fist would do!

Londoner for Boris

Although a strong and definite supporter of Boris, a primary would be better. This is not because there is any material chance that he will not "prove himself" in the primary but because Boris needs time to create his own platform, which is best done in this context, before being put into hand-to-hand combat with Livingstone. If he goes straight into that fight now it is much more risky.

It enables the contest to be paced, there can be friendly debates on regional TV and radio etc. The hustings will also allow the Party membership in London to be enthused and inspired for the election ahead and, through the questions and contributions from the other contestants, help create a combined platform. It will even allow Boris to decide which rivals he wants to put in the most important positions in the team supporting him for the election and, in some cases, beyond.

The London "senior members" wanting a coronation sound like the same old crowd that would always deny participation by the wider membership given half a chance. If they are the people involved in the interview panel, they should also be told that hustings and the free flow of ideas will work much better if there are 3 or 4 others going forward to the popular vote, not just Boris and one other. This will only work if Lightfoot, Borwick and Boff (as a minimum) stay in. I like and respect them all and urge them to do so.

One thing the interview panel should do is get absolute assurances from all candidates going forward that (a) they will debate the policies and not indulge in any personalised negative campaigning about the other candidates and (b) once the candidate is selected they would be prepared to become part of the successful candidate's campaigning and policy team. I am sure that the three long standing serious contenders I have mentioned above will all easily be able to answer "yes" to both questions.

Adam Tugwell

As you have rightly indicated Ed, there are genuine arguments for both scenarios.

A quick decision may have the benefit of earlier focus upon the real fight. However, a selection process now may actually assist to get the momentum up quickly and in a way which will help any successful candidate - but particularly Boris - to get started, bearing in mind that the timeframe is relatively short in order to give Red Ken a real run for his money.

Boris needs to prove his worth to the Party now and use the opportunity to demonstrate that his apparent clowning comes from his quick wittedness and intelligence rather than from being a bumbling fool as some would rather paint him.


Primary, for democracy within the London party and to demonstrate same, to give Boris public space in which to sharpen up and convince doubters inside and outside the party, and not least to show some respect to the other contenders. It would also (fingers crossed) show Londoners that the London party is stuffed with good people who can be trusted to govern the world's greatest city... and the country.


Primary of course. Who are these people who are so scared of democracy in our party?

Londoner for Boris

Had not seen your post of last night when I made my earlier comment. There should be 4 or 5 in the hustings/ballot, not 2 or 3.

Does anyone know the voting system - first past the post, transferable vote or what? Needs some form of transfer, even if only specifying a second choice as in the Mayoral election itself, I suggest.

Andrew Ian Dodge

I understand that Cameron is not in favour of a coronation. I am shocked to be able to say I agree with him about anything.

A primary was promised and it would bad if one was not held. As someone experienced in working on primaries in the US I can assure its a useful excercise to train people on to campaign on the issues and to flesh things out.

Red Ken is going to hit whomever wins very hard as he has the whole London Mayors office at his fingertips. If the Conservatives want to win they have to toughen themselves up for the upcoming fight. A primary would do that.


It was a lunatic idea in the first place for the primary elections to be open to all Londoners, not just party members. What is to stop Labour and Liberal supporters from voting for the least plausible candidate in order to stop Boris ? I would have been in favour of a party-only primary, but this is madness.


The Primary is important in two ways -
a) to ensure that no one accuses the Party of imposing a candidate selected by a cabal; and
b) as a number of previous comments suggest, it gives a good exposure to the finalists and the eventual winner.

Lets have a grown up debate on the merits of the finalists and stress on their strengths, without giving ammunition to Livingstone and the Labour Party.

Ali Gledhill

Boris will win the primary, but a "contest" will force some debate on issues.

For example, should the congestion charge be scrapped outright, or should the infrastructure for some charging (green tax?) be left in place?

This would legitimise any policy decisions Boris would make, and can only be good for London. London has been starved of a real mayoral contest, and has suffered under a Mayor who has complete disregard for anybody opposed to his narrow-minded ideals.

Walaa Idris

There has to be a primary and a proper debate of the issues, and then I hope people will be voting on the candidates guided by there minds and hearts not spin and media hype.

London and Londoners have suffered a lot and the last thing we need this late in the game is a shambolic coronation. Because if we choice to forget history will not. It might forgive us once or maybe twice but any more and we are in big trouble.

Sixteen years ago I left my birth land in search for freedom, democracy, and opportunity, and I found all three. But in the last decade I saw more dictatorship and top down governing on this side of the Mediterranean that tunes the stomach.
We are the Party of freedom, the Party of choice, the Party of inclusion and democracy.

With the Brown coronation we had a field day and May 2008 is not that fare away. An Open Primary I hope and may the best qualified candidate win.


I agree with Graeme Archer on this one. And we should have the choice to vote for Lee Rotherham whose policy ideas are currently (coppers on the) streets ahead of others.

Ken Stevens

You promised a primary. If you now decide that this would be inconvenient then you would be in no different position to those who promised an EU Constitution referendum but now find it inconvenient.


Obviously we need to have a primary, we need to give all the candidates a fair viewing to ensure that the best person wins. Also Boris comes across as a complete bufoon, he needs to be given the chance to show he has a serious side. Also other candidates like the wonderful Lurline Champagnie deserve a bit of press coverage, she is a real asset to the party.

Peter Berrow

The problem with the Primary option is that it is not the same as the system in the US which would mean in the case of a closed Primary it would restrict voters to only people who registrar as only Conservatives(and the way Bush beat Mcain in 2000) or open which Independents can vote also. Is their anyway of using Bluechip to restrict voters to only c's and p's on canvas returns rather than the allowance that like in plymouth we could end up with at least 10%(if not more) of voters coming from other parties. As for who it should be it has to be Warwick surely?


A Primary is needed for all the reason above. Should Boris win, he will be able to pick the best of his opponents to create a team to go forward with.

A primary is sure to throw up some new names (for most people) which is in itself a good thing for the party.

london conservative

I think people are getting a little ahead of themselves here. Remember, Boris is an unproven proposition for an election of this size, scope and duration.

Recall that he had to go into hiding during the 2001 general election when as editor of The Spectator he approved pitching the national media with an interview with Edward Heath in which Heath called the then Conservative leader William Hague a "laughing stock." This while he was a parliamentary candidate in Wales (albeit an ultimately unsuccessful one).

He was fired by then Conservative leader Michael Howard as both shadow spokesman for the arts and as a vice chairman of the party, posts that he held for a matter of months, not even a full calendar year.

His record in the House of Commons is already being raised by our opponent, Mayor Livingstone. Apparently Boris did not even vote for Crossrail, the most important piece of transport legislation in the capital for a generation.

He has entered this primary contest with no policies or platform.

And there are still question marks about his association with convicted fraudster Darius Guppy.

I think a primary contest at the very least is required to begin to test this guy out.


Hold a primary in order to avoid the dreaded phrase 'U turn'.

Also it could be a chance for some interesting intelligent debate about the virtue of right wing policies in public. Show that there are different approaches but the intention is genuinely to do good.

Deputy Editor

A number of Lee's proposals aren't be within the Mayor's remit, not least the kind of Mayor that Lee wanted!

He does state this in the document though - it's more a prospectus of ideas than a manifesto.

london conservative

If Boris Johnson is going to represent our party in this election, London voters will want to know that he is our chosen candidate. The same would be true of any of any candidate we put up in our party's name.

Electorally, he is comparatively untested. It isn't very difficult for a Tory to win in Henley-on-Thames, although it is unclear if there will be any fallout there from pursuing a time-intensive election, with 74 times as many voters, in a different part of the country, which he doesn't represent.

Apart from being returned for the safe seat of Henley, he recently came third in an election for Rector among students at Edinburgh University.

He also shown a remarkable skill for doing himself and our party verbal disfavors among voters, and not just in Liverpool and Southampton. Yet he is presenting himself for consideration to be our party's candidate in the most diverse part of the country, with more groups, faiths, minorities, and greater inequalities of wealth, income, health, housing and education than anywhere else in the country.

He has never been a candidate in a campaign anything like this before. In terms of voters, it is 74 times the size of a parliamentary election. In terms of the media spotlight, only party leaders can expect to get more. Why would we not want to try him out in a primary election first?

Cllr Alexa Michael

I always thought a primary was a ludicrous idea - the vote could be 'packed' by Liberal Democrat and Labour activists. There is nothing to stop them applying for a vote. I would certainly welcome not having a primary.

I do, however, think there should be a selection contest even if Boris is the eventual winner. The other candidates have put their names forward in good faith and they deserve to be considered. Democracy is a good thing, after all.

I can't see why we don't have a selection contest for the six candidates in London where those Conservative Party members present can vote and whittle the numbers down to two. The two finalists would then go forward to a London-wide ballot of Conservative Party members.

Come to think of it, this is exactly what we did last time.

Bill Parry-Davies

Coronation? Are you serious? What happened to democracy and equal opportunity? And you wonder why people like me, who are not aligned to any policital party, are cynical about politicians when decisions are made behind behind closed doors and then they mouth mantras about "participation" and "consultation". I had hoped for something new and different from you instead of apeing the Labour Party's coronation of its own favourite son and its enthrallment to celebrity. It is no wonder that people don't see the point of turning out to vote these days.

london conservative

Haven't we seen some evidence that empty suit candidates don't work after Ealing?

The comments to this entry are closed.

London Mayor videos

  • Receive our daily email
    Enter your details below:

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker