Labour MP David Lammy has made an early bid for his party’s nomination to be the next London Mayor. The Tottenham MP threw his hat into the ring yesterday morning, nearly a year to the day since he first announced he was considering running for the coveted London role.
“I spent a long time considering whether I’m the man who should run London next and having thought about that, I’ve decided to seek the Labour nomination,” he tells City A.M.
“It’s a long way from Tottenham to Westminster and even further to City Hall,” he explains, citing this inequality of opportunity as the driving force behind his central mayoral pledge: housing.
“I see people with jobs who can’t get housing and Londoners without jobs too. In a sense this great city is in danger of missing the opportunities of the 21st century,” he warns. “Every single employer that I’ve spoken to is raising this as their number one issue because they can’t attract the talent they need and keep that talent here in London.”
Lammy is the first of a clutch of Labour MPs who have been privately vying for the candidacy behind closed doors. Tessa Jowell has been billed as the preferred Labour choice and she’s the favourite to win overall with the bookmakers too. Paddy Power has her at odds of 9/4 to win the post from Boris Johnson. Other contenders are Hackney’s Diane Abbott and Tooting’s Sadiq Khan, both have significant support.
“People have been urging me to stand for a while now and many of those are out publically including MPs and assembly members, I think we’ll see more of that in the coming days,” Lammy explains, making clear that he knows there are those who think he’s not right for the job too.
Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that the long-standing MP doesn’t always toe the line. He has been vocal in his opposition to the so-called mansion tax, which he thinks would essentially be a tax on London.
“I worry about elderly people who may be asset rich but not cash rich,” he told the Evening Standard, adding that instead he would support more council tax bands.
Housing is central to his campaign for mayor and Lammy sees it as an issue that unites ordinary Londoners and businesses, a winning formula. “We haven’t built the houses that we need,” he says, adding that the pressure on people to find places to live has a knock-on effect on the city’s ability to find talented staff.
At odds on 9/1, Lammy trails two of his Labour rivals. But he’s certainly ready to give it a go.
Jowell, thought to be Labour’s preferred choice for the top job, is the odds-on favourite with a 9/4 chance of being mayor, according to Paddy Power.
Veteran MP and TV broadcaster Abbott has odds of 33/1 and would be considered an outside choice despite being popular in her constituency.
Khan could be a good bet, with odds of 5/1 and the ear of Labour leader Ed Miliband. He is the MP for Tooting, shadow secretary of state for justice and shadow minister for London.
POSSIBLE TORY OPPONENTS
Coe, the former MP for Falmouth and Camborne who leapt into the spotlight when he headed up London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, has odds of 16/1.
Goldsmith is currently MP for Richmond Park and was previously editor of The Ecologist campaigning on environmental issues. His odds are 25/1.
Brady, best known for her work as an aide to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice, was recently made a Conservative life peer and will sit in the House of Lords. Her odds are 40/1.