Alan Johnson for London Mayor? Unlikely

4:33 pm - May 18th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    

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Alan Johnson MP wants to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London in 2016. Here’s the excerpt from House Magazine:

I thought about [running in 2012]. But I think the party made a mistake in having that selection at the same time as the leadership election. For a start it was two years off. In the end, my decision was a commitment to Hull, where I’ve had 15 really good years and a city which I love, rather than the city I was born in.

But for any MP from outside London to throw their hat into the ring for the Mayor two years before the election is going to take place, you are either going to pack up your job as a Member of Parliament which means you lose the profile and you lose all your income, or you don’t stand for it. It means the only people who can stand for it – as MPs – are ones like Boris, who was close to London, or Ken who was a London MP. Or Oona [King] who had been a London MP. So I think that was difficult.

He goes on to say about a run in 2016: “I would not rule it out.”

I think it’s unlikely he will be selected as Labour’s candidate, for reasons he points out himself.

The Labour field for 2016 will be crowded since the consensus is that having just Oona and Ken compete last time was a mistake. The party ended up picking a candidate who had already lost over a candidate who proved weaker than expected.

David Lammy will almost certainly run. Also likely: Oona King, Sadiq Khan and maybe even Jon Cruddas. Even more unlikely but possibles: Alan Sugar, Stella Creasy and a range of Labour councillors and London Assembly Members.

Alan Johnson is popular with the PLP and has a high profile, which goes in his favour.

But the key hurdle is that all of them are London based and will have the time and space to build a campaign long before the election actually kicks off. Alan Johnson won’t have that luxury, given he is mostly in Hull. I wouldn’t put him down as a front-runner.

Update: Mayor Watch is also spot on:

Pushers of a Johnson candidacy insist he has a compelling backstory and anyway, it’s all fine because he was born in London. Personally I find a man who opted not to run for party leader, was rejected as deputy leader and who decided not to run for Mayor when there was a vacancy less than compelling.

If Alan Johnson really wants to stand he should decide before the General Election, not seek re-election to Westminster, and spend some time telling Londoners why he’s the man for them. Londoners deserve better than for parties and politicians to see their Mayoralty as a consolation prize for the rejected, the never-were’s and the has-beens.

Harsh, but fair.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

David Lammy for the win!

AJ is mostly in Hull? Are you sure? Takes active role on Hull issues but on average he is only in Hull for a few days once a month.

The main criterion must be a candidate’s views. I think it would be a disaster for Labour to select a candidate to the right of Ken Livingstone.

Pushers of a Johnson candidacy insist he has a compelling backstory

Not the Postman Pat-meets-Oliver Twist back story again? It didn’t work when Polly Toynbee was selling it for the Labour leadership, so why should it work for his mayoral bid? Lammy’s an obvious choice, but an MP like Creasy’s got four years to raise her profile. Maybe I should just save this blog post and revisit it in four years time.

As for Alan Suigar…hell, no. I can see the contest turning into another celebrity smackdown if it was him v either Boris or Sebastian Coe.

Alan Johnson from ideological Marxist to the only major trade union leader to vote for the abolition of Clause 4

In case anyone doesn’t remember, this is the text of the old version of Clause 4. For many people it sums up what the Labour Party once stood for. Unfortunately, those people did not include Tony Blair and Alan Johnson.

“To secure for all the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry of service.”

Just another political parasite seeking a non job that provides access to the cornucopia that is the trough of public largesse.

He seems like a decent chap, but doesn’t have the star quality.

Johnson may be looking at the boundary changes – the Tories have a wizard wheeze to lose him his Hull seat.

Alan Johnson probably wouldn’t win. He’s very much a party man. With Mayor of London the question to ask is “would the party leader feel comfortable putting him on a question time pannel?” And if the answer is yes – he isn’t the man for the job.

On that front, you’d have to pick John Cruddas or Sadiq Khan. Both seemingly well regarded by the party leadership – but both more comfortable throwing out the script and saying what they think.

Personally my call would be Sadiq – still think the election show on BBC1 this year was an excellent performance – when he admitted that the scripted stuff about wanting 500 wins was rubbish and what he really wanted was Harlow because that would mean more for a general election.

But I suspect London might prefer Cruddas if he got himself out on the campaign trail earlier enough to build a bit of status.

its what happens now thats more important than four years away discussion of the next labour candidate is somewhat irrelevant. there is a combined centre left majority on the london assembly do they have any bargaining power with johnson if not then they need to investigate how they can build support for a more democratic relaitionship between the assembly and the mayor?
IF the social movements and trades unions can build themselves up in london and offer an alternative thview of society that would probably cause johnson to back down a lot more than any electoral threat from labour. johnson has after all critisised cameron from the left when hes percieved it to be in his interrests.

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  6. sunny hundal

    I think it's unlikely Alan Johnson will be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, for reasons he know himself

  7. MayorWatch

    I think it's unlikely Alan Johnson will be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, for reasons he know himself

  8. Thom Rawlinson

    I think it's unlikely Alan Johnson will be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, for reasons he know himself

  9. Bronxie

    I think it's unlikely Alan Johnson will be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, for reasons he know himself

  10. Alan Johnson for London? Why? — MayorWatch

    […] 17.19: Sunny sets out why he thanks Johnson ultimately won’t run. Filed Under: Martin Hoscik Tagged With: 2016 London […]

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