Liberal Democrats hunt for new London mayoral candidate

Christian Smith
August 15, 2020 9.00

The Liberal Democrats are seeking a new London mayoral candidate, following the decision of Siobhan Benita to stand down at the end of July.

The party, which previously said it was undertaking an internal process to select a new candidate, is now advertising the position on its website.

Ms Benita, who was appointed the party’s candidate in November 2018, pulled out of the race for financial reasons after the election was postponed to May 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chair of the London Liberal Democrats, Ben Sims, said: “As we look forward to shaping our post-COVID future, the Liberal Democrats will offer Londoners the progressive change they demand.”

Luisa Porritt, former Liberal Democrat MEP and councillor for Belsize, was the first potential candidate to raise her head above the parapet when last week she told Ham & High News that she was considering a run at the mayoralty. 

CONSIDERING RUNNING: Luisa Porritt may seek the nomination as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate

No others have yet done so.

Any selection may have to wait until the party’s future leader is decided later this month.

Interim leader Ed Davey, and MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran, are battling for the party leadership following Jo Swinson’s resignation in December.

Ms Benita is the second major casualty of the delayed election after former Conservative minister Rory Stewart, who was running as an independent candidate, pulled out in May.

In a statement, Ms Benita said: “It has been a privilege to campaign as the Lib Dem candidate for the past 18 months. The nature of the role, which is unpaid, makes it very difficult to combine with other work. Sadly, at this stage, I’m simply not able to commit to another full year of campaigning.”

Mr Davey commended Ms Benita’s contribution to the party.

“I’ve known Siobhan for several years and she is an incredibly inspiring woman,” he said. I’m very sorry to see Siobhan stand down at this time, but she will continue to be a huge asset to our party,” he said.

The mayoralty increasingly looks like a two horse race, with Labour’s Sadiq Khan, the incumbent mayor, and Conservative Shaun Bailey, far ahead in the polls.

Related Articles