A hustings is to take place in Finchley on July 4th for those seeking the Conservative nomination for Mayor of London. The event will be presided over by Iain Dale. Three candidates have thus far agreed to take part – Sol Campbell, Stephen Greenhalgh and Andrew Boff.  Mr Campbell’s decision to take part rather firms up his intention to put his name forward.

One advantage of the event is that it will put pressure under some potential candidates for the Conservative nomination to stop dithering. (Yes, I’m looking at you Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park.)

A Conservative Way Forward spokesman said:

“We are delighted that candidates like Sol Campbell are throwing their hat in the ring, and coming to debate the future of London at our hustings on 4 July, in Finchley. The starting gun has been fired. Other Conservative candidates now need to decide: are they in or out? London’s future is at stake.”

Before the event there will be campaigning on the streets of the Finchley and Golders Green constituency with Mike Freer MP.

The media are invited to attend the hustings. That is welcome. The strengths and weaknesses of the potential candidates should have as much scrutiny as possible before the final selection takes place.

It is also a way that Conservative ideas and policies can be put across to Londoners. The candidates can set out how they would secure more and better housing, cut crime, improve transport, reduce fares and the Council Tax precept, improve the environment and so on. What sort of campaign would they run – in a contest where Labour start out as the favourites? How would they boost Conservative support among ethnic minority voters? They can explain why they are Conservatives and what as individuals they have achieved.

Let’s have lots of hustings, with videos of full proceedings on the internet, in different parts of London. By all means let’s have more candidates come forward and a full and vigorous debate.