Tessa Jowell and Sadiq Khan have both unveiled big-name supporters as the race to become Labour’s 2016 mayoral candidate enters its final phase.
With ballot papers already in the hands of the party’s selectorate, all six of Labour’s would-be Mayoral runners are busy campaigning for pledges of support.
Although polls suggest Dame Tessa is the preferred candidate among Londoners and Labour party members, she’s expected to face a strong challenge for the nomination from Tooting MP Sadiq Khan.
Last week former Mayor Ken Livingstone, a key supporter of Mr Khan, suggested that 90% of new members and registered supporters contacted by Khan’s campaign said they backed him.
Earlier today former Culture Secretary Chris Smith announced his support for Mr Khan, claiming that “he’s got the solutions we need to address the city’s problems and to start fixing them.”
Writing on The New Statesman’s website, Lord Smith added: “Sadiq has shown himself capable of bringing together communities, businesses, local Boroughs, voluntary groups and trade unions from across London to tackle the city’s problems.
“London is changing and fast and Sadiq understands this. He gets what makes the city tick.”
Meanwhile Dame Tessa announced the support of John Cryer MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party and a member of the Socialist Campaign Group which also includes leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn and her and Khan’s rival for the Mayoral contest, Diane Abbott.
Mr Cryer said he was supporting Jowell “because London desperately needs a Labour Mayor.”
He added: “Tessa’s One London vision means building a city where everyone has a chance to fulfil their potential. From restoring Sure Start to proper apprenticeships she has the ideas that will help give Londoners a fairer chance in life.
“Tessa can beat the Tories and work with Trade Unions and other groups to deliver for the millions of Londoners who are relying on us to win next May. Tessa can be a great Labour candidate and a great Labour mayor – that’s why she has my full support.”
The other contenders for the nomination are Tottenham MP David Lammy, transport expert Christian Wolmar and Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West. The winner will be announced on September 11th.