From the six applicants to be the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London, the Liberal Democrat shortlisting committee put two through to a ballot of party members – Caroline Pidgeon and Duwayne Brooks.
Duwayne has pulled out, so Caroline Pidgeon is going to be the Liberal Democrat candidate in May subject to a confirmation from party members.
The official statement says:
Unfortunately, Duwayne Brooks has since withdrawn from the Mayoral selection owing to a new professional commitment with a Police Authority which prevents him from going forward.
We are therefore proceeding with a short-list of 1 candidate plus the standard option to vote for re-open nominations. Eligible London members will be asked to vote for their first preference for London Mayoral candidate shortly. The results of the contest will be announced the week beginning September 14th 2015.
Good luck Caroline and best of luck with the new role Duwayne.
(A ballot is underway to select the party’s London Assembly list candidates.)
To cover a couple of the points which have come up since I broke the news:
- Caroline is also running in the list candidate selection. The idea is to have a Mayor candidate – who won’t win – who is fully bought into the success of the list election – where Lib Dems can win. In the past, even with the best of initial intentions, the Mayor campaigns have kept on drifting away from prioritising supporting the election in which the party can win. With for the first time, if members vote that way in the selections, a Mayor candidate who is also a list candidate the chances of that same damaging drift will be massively decreased.
- The fact that the original list of six was whittled down to two by the shortlisting committee prompts the question, why not just put all six to a ballot of party members? Here’s what the rules say the role of shortlisting is: “All applicants to be the Mayoral Candidate who meet the selection criteria will be interviewed. The interview process will be based on the method used for the selection of candidates in parliamentary by-elections, and may include additional tasks or exercises”. In other words, shortlisting is there to ensure that those who get through that stage meet not only the usual candidate requirements but also meet the tougher requirements to be a high profile Parliamentary by-election candidate too (because like those contests, the London Mayor election is a higher profile, higher stress contest). That’s why shortlisting committees don’t just say, for example, ‘oh you’ve stood in a general election – you can go through no problem’ but instead put people through the shortlisting process.