London Mayoral Election preview

David Floyd previews Sadiq Khan’s battle to stay in City Hall

Sadiq Khan (credit GLA)
Sadiq Khan (credit GLA)

Result in 2021:                                   Round 1: Round 2:

Sadiq Khan – Labour 40.0% 55.2%

Shaun Bailey – Conservative             35.3% 44.8%

Sian Berry – Green                            7.8%

In 2021, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan won a delayed reelection for a second term as mayor. He defeated Conservative challenger Shaun Bailey by 40% to 35% in the first round and 55% to 45% in the second round. 

This wasn’t a close result but it was closer than expected. Khan had defeated his previous Conservative challenger Zac Goldsmith by 44/35 and 57/43 in 2016 – and it was widely believed that Bailey (a member of the London Assembly and failed parliamentary candidate) was a weaker opponent than Goldsmith, who at the time was a prominent London MP.

In Barnet, Khan lost to Goldsmith by 48%-35% in 2016 and to Bailey by 45%-33% in 2021. 

This time around, the mayor (definitely) faces a challenge from Conservative assembly member and former leader of Hillingdon council, Susan Hall.

Hall has so far followed Goldsmith in running an aggressive personal campaign against the mayor, including a speech at Conservative Party conference in October saying Jewish voters were frightened of him – a claim rejected by the Board of Deputies of British Jews which said Khan had “treated our community with friendship and respect”. 

While the extension of the ULEZ scheme has attracted vocal criticism and contributed to Labour’s defeat at the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election in July 2023, it would be a massive surprise if the mayor was not reelected for a third time. 

Possible curveballs are the change to the voting system (see below) which means the mayor is now elected under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system. This means anti-Conservative voters who might previously have given a first vote to the Liberal Democrats or the Greens, now have to choose whether or not to support Khan in the first round. 

And alongside that change, there is a chance of a run by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. While (at time of writing) Corbyn has not launched a bid, he has hinted at the possibility on several occasions. 

Confirmed candidates from other parties are Liberal Democrat Rob Blackie, a former director of research for the party’s former leader Charles Kennedy, Hackney councillor Zoë Garbett for the Green Party and anti-ULEZ campaigner Howard Cox for Reform UK. 

A smorgasbord of independent and minor party candidates is inevitable, however it is not yet clear if Count Binface is planning another run following his creditable performance in 2021.

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