Minister for London Paul Scully said today he is “considering” running against Sadiq Khan to be the next London mayor in 2024.
Speaking at a Centre for London event today, Scully said: “Let me tackle this head on, am I considering running for London mayor in 2024? Yes, I am considering it. I haven’t made a decision yet.”
Scully, Conservative MP for the south London seat of Sutton and Cheam, also outlined his top priorities if he were to stand as a candidate, saying he would focus on safety and policing issues, improving public transport and building more homes.
“When you’ve got the Met Police in special measures; the fire brigade in special measures; Transport for London in dire financial straits; and not enough housing being built, you need a change, and that’s what’s driving me to look at this,” Scully said.
It comes as the Conservatives are preparing to take on Khan in a bid to regain control of the capital next year, with insiders suggesting the unpopularity of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) expansion has played into their hands.
On ULEZ, Scully said the expansion “does concern me”, arguing that it “drags down social mobility.”
“Sutton, my constituency, is the fourth highest borough for people driving to and from work. It’s not because people don’t want to get on public transport, it’s that the transport is not there for them to do so,” he said.
“We need greater investment in those alternatives before you’re having those punitive approaches,” he added.
Party chairman Greg Hands told the Evening Standard the mayoral candidate would be selected later this year and that the ULEZ rollout on August 29, would be a key issue.
Nickie Aiken, MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, has ruled herself out of the race, but London Assembly members Andrew Boff and Nick Rogers are reportedly interested.
Samuel Kasumu, an former advisor to Boris Johnson, is also in the running and has vowed to give each outer London borough a referendum on the ULEZ policy within a year if he is elected.