Boris has done it, now it’s time for Sadiq Khan and David Lammy to come clean

Boris Johnson has finally put an end to speculation about his future and confirmed that he’ll stand as an MP next year.

Predictably Labour’s press operation has swung into action, deploying the ‘part-time Mayor’ rhetoric which they briefed the Standard on earlier this year.

Meanwhile David Lammy has been busy tweeting criticism of Boris for quitting City Hall to pursue his personal ambitions.

Labour supporters are on firmer ground when they accuse him of breaking the promise made when he said:

“If I am fortunate enough to win I will need four years to deliver what I have promised. And having put trust at the heart of this election, I would serve out that term in full.

“I made a solemn vow to Londoners to lead them out of recession, bring down crime and deliver the growth, investment and jobs that this city so desperately needs. Keeping that promise cannot be combined with any other political capacity.”

But there’s a real problem with all of of these criticisms – two of the most briefed and hyped would-be Labour Mayoral runners are just as guilty of them as Boris.

David Lammy was elected as a London Assembly member in May 2000 before quitting 2 months later for the safe seat of Tottenham. How was that not pursuing his personal ambitions?

And both Lammy and Sadiq Khan, another much-briefed would-be Mayor, are seeking re-election to Parliament next May after which their supporters tip and wink that they’ll seek the party’s Mayoral nomination.

Will the months they’ll spend campaigning for that role not make them part-time MPs? When will they stand down from Parliament – after they’re selected or only if they’re elected as Mayor in 2016?

And when they go to the voters in their respective constituencies next May with their Mayoral ambitions still clouded in deniable briefings, are they not making a promise to represent the voters of Tottenham and Tooting in Parliament until the 2020 General Election?

Boris has done what many called on him to do and clarified his intentions. Isn’t is about time Labour’s would-be Mayors did the same or change the record?


  1. Damian Hockney says

    By highlighting the issue with regard to the Mayor, Labour of course simply draws attention to situations involving politicians of all parties either being elected in two capacities or appearing to put themselves in a position where some of their period in office will be taken up with electioneering and seeking a new role. You point out glaring examples. But surely no-one is suggesting that the Mayor should now step down? Or that both possible Labour contenders mentioned should (if going to stand in 2016) vacate their seats? Maybe some might suggesting this, but those candidates will need to be very wealthy indeed (or subsidised) to do so. Which would rule most out, possibly not the Mayor.

    At the end of the day these are surely self defeating attacks on the political process. It is inevitable that the existence of more elected bodies will lead to this type of thing. It is the similar (but not the same of course) as people applying for jobs at another firm in confidence while expressing total commitment to their current employers. Just more risky and difficult to finesse. Endless and selective attacks by all parties on individuals within them for engaging in the process will just bring yet further into disrepute the political class. It will give the impression that somehow this is another example of morally dubious behaviour or worse.

    The issue can be painted in a number of ways and if each party is choosing examples from the other side, then like the issues surrounding MPs expenses, there can be no winners. Just media coverage of more ‘impropriety and graft’. It would be interesting to see a measured discussion of this issue somewhere in the press – interesting but unlikely when it is a useful cheap shot, when partisan coverage is now so ferocious and unrelenting, and when it is so handy as another way to attack the political process and all politicians.