Political

Who will be the next Liberal Democrat Poisoned Chalice Holder, London Division?

In as much as speculation about the future of Liberal Democrat individuals is getting any wider attention at the moment, it’s about the possible successors to Vince Cable as party leader in a contest most likely to happen in 2019.

But there’s also a more immediate contest coming up, which is to be the next Liberal Democrat Poisoned Chalice Holder, London Division, aka candidate for Mayor of London. Doing the role well is particularly tough as the contest – which has never yet looked winnable for the party – happens alongside the elections for the London Assembly – where even in the party’s worst year, one GLA member (Caroline Pidgeon) was still elected.

Being a Mayor candidate with a huge focus on you when the main aim is helping get others elected is a tough balance to get right. It’s also why many in the party in the past have liked the idea of a Mayor candidate who is also on the party’s list for the London Assembly.

The selections for Mayor and list candidates kicks off shortly, and so names are starting to surface for both. One of those is former independent candidate for Mayor turned Lib Dem member, Siobhan Benita:

A former Independent candidate for Mayor of London who came close to beating the Liberal Democrats is planning to stand again – this time as a Lib Dem.

Former civil servant Siobhan Benita was the big political surprise of the 2012 mayoral contest when she amassed an extraordinary 83,914 first-preference votes…

Ms Benita’s campaign was boosted by an endorsement from the former head of the civil service, Gus O’Donnell, known as GOD.

Speaking to the Evening Standard she revealed: “I’m having another go because it is unfinished business. [Evening Standard]

It looks like the chance of the Liberal Democrat candidate winning the actual contest for Mayor of London will be low once again. But the opportunity for that candidate to contribute to the party’s recovery and success in other elections will be huge.

Talking to the outside world, any would-be candidate is wise to talk up their own chances. For members when it comes to the selection, some hard questions about how the candidates will contribute to the party’s wider rebuilding and what they will view as success will be wise.

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