Liberal Democrat members in London are to be asked to endorse the nomination of Caroline Pidgeon as the party’s candidate for Mayor after her sole rival withdrew from the contest.
Six hopefuls applied for the nomination, from which party bosses shortlisted Ms Pidgeon, a member of the London Assembly, and former Lewisham councillor Duwayne Brooks.
Mr Brooks later withdrew from the contest as his candidacy would have clashed with his role reviewing the use of Stop and Search Powers by Northamptonshire Police, leaving the party with just one contender to succeed Boris Johnson next year.
Despite the lack of a second candidate, party bosses have decided to press ahead with a planned ballot of members who will be issued ballot papers listing both Ms Pidgeon and the option to reopen nominations.
Pidgeon is a popular figure within the party and is widely considered one of its most able and determined campaigners.
Like the incumbent mayor, she entered City Hall at the 2008 election and has used her time on the Assembly to push a number of issues, including tackling knife crime and the affordable fares, which are likely to take centre place in her mayoral manifesto.
She’s also served on a number of Assembly committees and is currently Deputy Chair of both the police & crime and transport committees.
Between 1998 and 2010 Pidgeon served as a councillor in Southwark where she served as Executive Member for Children’s Services and Education and deputy council leader.
In 2010 she unsuccessfully stood against Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours.
Her mayoral bid was backed by former Lib Dem MP Baroness Susan Kramer who was the party’s candidate at the first ever mayoral election in 2000, and Lynne Featherstone the former Hornsey and Wood Green MP.
A party statement said: “Unfortunately, Duwayne Brooks has since withdrawn from the Mayoral selection owing to a new professional commitment with a Police Authority which prevents him from going forward.
“We are therefore proceeding with a short-list of 1 candidate plus the standard option to vote for re-open nominations. Eligible London members will be asked to vote for their first preference for London Mayoral candidate shortly. The results of the contest will be announced the week beginning September 14th 2015.”
Ms Pidgeon said it was “a shame” Mr Brooks had had with withdraw, adding: “ I wish him well in his new role reviewing the use of Stop and Search Powers by Northamptonshire Police.”
Commenting on the campaign ahead, she said: “As the current leader of the Lib Dems at City Hall and the only candidate standing for both Mayor and Assembly, I am in a unique position to lead our campaign to secure more votes and seats in a way that we’ve never done before.
“This will be the first big Lib Dem Fightback campaign so there’s no limiting what we can achieve. My campaign is for London and I’m looking for support for my ideas to improve our city – flexible fares, a major home building programme, creating new jobs – a London that works for everyone. I want to build support both as Mayor and for a bigger team of Lib Dems on the London Assembly.”
“After seven years holding Boris Johnson to account on the London Assembly, I know how City Hall works and how to get the best deal for Londoners.”