The 2012 London mayoral election may barely have finished, but already
there’s speculation as to who might run — and win — in 2016. The current favourite is Boris — despite suggestions that he’ll be back in Parliament with his
sights set on the Tory leadership by then. And the second favourite? It was David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham who was tipped as a potential 2012 candidate and has hinted that he might be interested next time. But today he’s been overtaken — in the
eyes of bookies Paddy Power at least — by another Johnson who’s hosted Have I
Got News for You: Labour’s Alan Johnson.
This has been prompted by an interview with the former Home Secretary in the House magazine.
Johnson says he contemplated running for the job this time round, but felt it would be too difficult for a non-London MP. He goes on to say:
‘There were lots of colleagues who quite liked the idea of Johnson versus Johnson. I left the question open at the time. I don’t think Boris was sitting there petrified at the
idea of Alan Johnson, but there were a lot of people thinking it shouldn’t be a re-run of the last one. Actually, I’m a great admirer of Ken and probably the Boris factor would have
done for anyone. But it’s very rare that you just re-run the same challenge in any sphere, that you just run the same candidate who lost some years before. So maybe we do need a bit of
fresh blood next time that’s for sure. I would not rule it out.’
He also claimed his age — he’ll turn 66, the same age as Ken Livingstone is now, in 2016 — wouldn’t be a problem:
‘I don’t think [the problem] was age with Ken. If you look at some of the great mayors around the world, look at America, like New York, you have to be sort of 80 before you
Of course, 2016 is still a while away, and the parties won’t choose their candidates until late-2014 at the earliest. And Labour has plenty of other potential candidates —
from the new head of the party’s policy review, Jon Cruddas, to comedian Eddie Izzard (although he says he
won’t run until 2020) — who might be particularly keen if Boris does decide not to seek re-election. But Alan Johnson’s words were enough for Paddy Power to shorten his odds of
being the capital’s next Mayor to 6/1 (Boris is at 13/8) and for Ladbrokes to make him joint second-favourite with Lammy at 10/1.