As we’ve argued over the last couple of weeks, ConservativeHome doesn’t believe there should be a shortlist for the candidacy for Mayor of London – we would prefer people to be allowed an open choice from all those standing for the position.
But there is a shortlist nonetheless, which has just been confirmed to me. It is:
- Andrew Boff AM
- Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing
- Syed Kamall MEP
Evidently the selection committee concluded that the original plan for a shortlist of “two or three” was too restrictive – pressure from some of the candidates as well as from ConHome seems to have produced a longer list. Paul also argued that Greenhalgh deserved a place, so it is pleasing that that call has been listened to.
The widespread assumption was that Philippa Roe, the leader of Westminster City Council, would make it onto the shortlist, so the fact that she did not will come as a surprise to many. Ivan Massow and Sol Campbell will no doubt also be disappointed not to make the cut.
As it is, we now have a list to choose from which offers people experienced in Brussels, in Parliament, in council leadership, in the London Assembly, in City Hall and in business – though notably no women candidates.
The four finalists will now redouble their campaigning efforts (no mean feat given that many of the people they need to persuade will be going on holiday shortly, if they haven’t gone away already), and ConservativeHome will be polling party members soon about their preferred candidate.
I’m told by someone closely acquainted with proceedings that the presumption even as the selection meeting began was that the shortlist would only be composed of two or three candidates. However, the committee itself voiced concerns about restricting the choice of candidates – only to be told their votes would only be counted if they voted for precisely three people. Ultimately, Party officials settled on putting four through, although I’m told the committee itself would have had no objections to a shortlist of five, including Philippa Roe.