Greens and Liberal Democrats insist they are both credible challengers
Some of the candidates - clockwise: Sian Berry (Green), Count Binface, Louisa Pollitt (Liberal Democrat), Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Shaun Bailey (Conservative)
Two London mayoral candidates have hit back at Sadiq Khan’s claim that the election on 6 May is a “two-horse race” between himself and Shaun Bailey.
The current Mayor of London kicked off his re-election campaign last week with a promise to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs”, adding that the election was a choice between himself and the Conservative candidate.
But Sian Berry and Luisa Porritt, the candidates representing the Green Party and Liberal Democrats respectively, have hit back against the “two-horse race” narrative.
Luisa Porritt, who was selected to replace Siobhan Benita as the Lib Dem candidate in October, said that the election “is clearly not” a two-horse race “because Shaun Bailey is so far behind Sadiq Khan” in opinion polls.
Ms Porritt said, “I also think that no one has an immediate right to a second term and there is room for an alternative challenger to Sadiq Khan. So, it’s actually quite timely that I’ve come in as a newer, fresh candidate in the race to offer something different to Londoners.”
The former MEP said, “It’s also not (a two-horse race) because it’s a proportional representation election and it’s quite lazy and insulting to Londoners to frame it that way.
“It isn’t like a General Election where people feel like they have to pick the least worst option. You’ve got two preferences; you can pick the candidate whose vision and policies you most agree with.”
Sian Berry, who came third in the 2016 London Mayor election, has also disputed the “two-horse race” claim, and has said she has “serious momentum” in the lead-up to 6 May.
Ms Berry said, “Greens have seen off every challenger to come third in the last two elections, and Greens are emerging as the third party nationally too. I have real staying power, I have a solid track record, and I have serious momentum.
“With the Conservative candidate floundering, the field is wide open for a new challenge to the current Mayor. Greens on the London Assembly have pushed this Mayor to do the right things, held him to his promises, and put fresh thinking into action. In this election, Londoners have the chance to give this city a new start by voting Green.”
The most recent opinion poll from Redfield and Wilton puts Sadiq Khan on 49 per cent of first preference votes, 21 points ahead of nearest rival Shaun Bailey who sits on 28 per cent of first preference votes.
The poll, released in January, put Luisa Porritt and Sian Berry in third on fourth place respectively, on 10 and nine per cent of first preference votes.
Following a slight change to lockdown rules this week, campaigners for all the candidates can now deliver leaflets and engage directly with voters on the doorstep to boost their chances ahead of the election on 6 May.
Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter
March 13, 2021