The dynamics of Labour’s other ongoing election appear to be shifting. While Tessa Jowell remains the favourite to be the party’s candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral election, Sadiq Khan is making some headway. Firstly, Survation has released a new poll that suggests he can beat Zac Goldsmith — the most likely Tory candidate. 50 per cent said Khan would be their first preference, compared to 37 per cent for Goldsmith and 13 per cent for another candidate. Plus, 58 per cent said they had heard of Khan, compared to 55 per cent for Goldsmith.
Khan’s wider appeal is in part a result of his ability to appeal to voters of all ethnicities. After watching an introductory video of Khan and Goldsmith, 45 per cent of white voters polled by Survation named Goldsmith as their first preference candidate, compared to 40 per cent for Khan. For black respondents, 73 per cent said they would back Khan vs. 22 per cent for Goldsmith. And for Asian respondents, 71 per cent named Khan compared to 23 per cent for Goldsmith.
Secondly, Khan has received a few notable endorsements. Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions and now a Labour MP, has backed him in a blog for the New Statesman:
‘Sadiq is ideally placed to take on this role and he his experience to stand up for Londoners against the worst excesses of the Tory Government. He’ll bring a decency and fairness that is all too lacking in many of today’s frontline politicians.’
He has also received the backing of The Guardian’s Dave Hill, whose London blog is widely read amongst the capital’s Labour party. Hill says Khan ‘edges it for me thanks to a blend of principle and practicality that could evolve into a winning programme for constructive change in a city that sometimes seems to be booming out of control’.
The MP for Tooting also stands to benefit from the significantly enlarged Labour electorate. Assuming that a good chunk of the 600k people voting in the leadership and London elections have joined to back Jeremy Corbyn, it seems unlikely they would also vote for Tessa Jowell, a Blairite and the most establishment of the London candidates.
The fact that Khan and Corbyn are doing well in London says more about the capital than the rest of the country. In a poll for the Evening Standard, 46 per cent of Londoners said Corbyn would make the best Labour leader. But as Mark Field pointed out on Westminster Hour, Ed Miliband’s offer at the election went down well in the capital — there was a three per cent swing towards Labour in May — but badly with the rest of the country. Even if Goldsmith manages to replicate Boris’ strategy of appealing to the suburbs, the politics of London are not necessarily in the Tories’ favour.
Odds for 2o16 Labour candidate for London Mayor, according to Ladbrokes: Tessa Jowell 10/11, Sadiq Khan 11/8, David Lammy 10/1 and Diane Abbott 16/1.
Odds for next London Mayor, according to Ladbrokes: Tessa Jowell 7/4, Zac Goldsmith 7/4, Sadiq Khan 10/3, David Lammy 20/1 and Syed Kamall 20/1
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.