London mayor race: Tessa Jowell says age is her advantage

Ashley Kirk
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Dame Tessa Jowell during the London Evening Standard Culture And Commerce Luncheon (Source: Getty)

Dame Tessa Jowell believes age is her advantage in the race to become London mayor, saying she could not have done the job "with confidence" earlier in her life.

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Jowell drew parallels between herself and Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House in America, saying: "I’m 67, and I would be the youngest ever woman to serve as mayor of London. Years ago, I couldn’t have done this job with confidence, vision and the certainty that I can deliver."

Just a month after Labour's defeat in the General Election, Jowell stated she wants to help her party bounce back. Claiming Labour had lost the art of winning, she said:

It’s a very tough message, because we’ve got to get Labour out of its comfort zone. I just know I can win this, and Labour has got to win again. If we don’t win in London next year, it will be 2020 before we have another opportunity to win a big election.

In an interview with The Telegraph, she said she had "decided that you can’t not stand for something that you believe in as passionately as I do because you’re afraid of the scrutiny that comes with it. I just so hope that the Labour Party select me and that London elects me."

She said she tries to not think about the other candidates in the race. Not only are there other strong Labour candidates, such as Sadiq Khan, but if she is selected by Labour to run, she will likely face Zac Goldsmith as the Conservative candidate.

Her priorities as mayor would include a housebuilding programme, freezing transport fares for a year and reinvigorating SureStart - a programme initiated by Jowell to help young children with improved childcare and education.

She said she could not "stand talk of the housing crisis. It's a crisis of people not having a home to live in - of horrible rented accommodation that people don't feel secure in".

On her bid to become Mayor of London, she added:

I just have this glowing faith that I can make an impact. I may have all the questions about whether I will be selected, but I've never doubted that I can do it. I love London. I can't bear its inequality, and I knew that if I didn't try, I couldn't live with myself.

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