A couple of weeks ago I called on David Lammy and Sadiq Khan to stop the back room briefings and openly confirm their Mayoral ambitions.
So I’m pleased that today David Lammy has done exactly that, making it clear that he plans to contest Labour’s Mayoral selection next year.
I think he’s wrong to hedge his bets by seeking re-election as MP for Tottenham at the General Election, possibly saddling the public with the cost of a by-election.
But in making a clear public declaration, Lammy has at least ensured voters know he’ll be looking for a new job a few weeks later and can factor that in when placing their cross on the ballot paper.
His decision to throw his hat in the ring has upset some in the Labour party who believe Londoners should park their concerns until after the General Election because it’s inconvenient to have a London-specific policy debate until after Ed Miliband (possibly) squeaks into Downing Street.
Labour should be quite capable of holding an internal selection while fighting a national campaign and if it’s not it needs to go away and fix itself, not try shortchanging Londoners with a curtailed debate and a generic, party-derived manifesto.
Lammy’s announcement also wrong foots those waiting to see whether the General Election brings them ministerial office before finally deciding whether they want to run a £20bn regional government of their own.
That’s very welcome.
Mayor of London is a huge job with a profile and spending freedom unequalled in British politics.
If you’re too weak, scared or cowardly to openly admit you want the job until you’ve seen what else might be on offer, why should Londoners pay you any attention when you finally emerge from the back of your closet?