Conservative activists have been warned that Labour’s influx of new members means it’s a now “powerful” fighting force with the resources and manpower to mount a credible challenge in next year’s mayoral contest.
Over the summer hundreds of thousands of new members and supporters signed up to elect a new Labour leader and mayoral candidate.
The two contests culminated last month in the election of Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan, both of whom overtook more established frontrunners.
Addressing members of Conservative Future, Tory mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith last night said his Labour opponent could now count on the support of “vast numbers of people” who would campaign hard to reclaim the mayoralty.
Goldsmith said while Labour’s single mayoral term meant the capital shouldn’t be seen as a Labour city, it also wasn’t a Conservative stronghold and the party would need a broad offer to secure a third term at City Hall.
To win the election a candidate needs to secure the backing of more than 50% of the votes cast.
In each of the elections held to date this has only been possible by winning the second preference votes of Green and Liberal Democrat voters plus those who backed smaller parties and independent candidates.
Acknowledging this, Mr Goldsmith said: “whoever wins will win by reaching out well beyond their traditional base.”