Congratulations to Shaun Bailey who has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London. Bailey was the favourite and had the highest number of councillor endorsements. He was interviewed for Con Home  and also wrote for us setting out his stall. However it is a vigorously fought, albeit comradely, selection battle. Andrew Boff, a fellow London Assembly member, was the runner up – his supporters included the Editor of this site. Cllr Joy Morrissey came third and also fought a strong campaign

In the first round Bailey won 3,164 votes (43.2 per cent), Boff took 2,591 (35.4 per cent) and Morrissey received 1,566 (21.4 per cent). After second preference votes were included, Bailey took 3,904 votes to Boff’s 3,186. All Conservative members in London were allowed to vote – provided they joined at least three months ago.

The election does not take place until May 7th 2020. That gives Bailey much longer to campaign than Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate last time who was only chosen seven months before the election.

Bailey says:

“It is a great honour to be selected as the Conservative Party’s candidate for the 2020 London mayoral election. For someone who grew up in a council house in one of the poorest parts of London, securing this nomination is proof that our city truly is the place where anything is possible.

“London has given me so much. It’s why I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to repay its generosity, either through my twenty plus years of youth work helping to steer children away from a life of crime and towards work opportunities, or my current involvement on the London Assembly, where I have done my best to hold the current mayor to account.

“Local government is important work and our city is facing real challenges. Violent crime is up. Gang crime is up. Knife crime is up. Our transport system faces a £1bn hole in its operating budget. New homes are not being built fast enough. After two and a half years of Sadiq Khan, it is clear we cannot afford more of the same. I look forward to meeting with Londoners in every borough and continuing the conversation about how we can do better to make sure London works for everyone.”

Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Party Chairman adds:

“I’m delighted Shaun Bailey has been elected as our candidate. He is passionate about London and has the ideas London needs to continue to be the best capital city in the world.

“London is being let down by Sadiq Khan, who keeps breaking the promises he made to Londoners on crime, housing and transport. I know Shaun will hold him to account and outline his positive vision for London.”

One concern is that the total number voting was down on previous contests. Last time around 9,227 people voted and Zac Goldsmith won selection with 70 per cent of the vote. He had 6,514 votes, Syed Kamall 1,477, Stephen Greenhalgh 864 and Andrew Boff 372. When Boris Johnson was first selected in 2007 as the Conservative candidate for Mayor, the turnout was almost twice as high as that. Boris received 15,661 votes, Victoria Borwick 1,869, Andrew Boff 1,674 and Warwick Lightfoot 609.

We are told that in the contest that has just taken place the turnout was 47.8 per cent. So that indicates a total Conservative membership in London of around 15,000. Perhaps an early campaigning priority should be a recruitment drive….