Theresa May’s unexpected General Election could cut short the parliamentary careers of at least four London Labour MPs, all of whom secured only wafer-thin majorities at the 2015 election:
- Ealing Central and Acton (majority 274) where Rupa Huq ousted former London Assembly member Angie Bray
- Ruth Cadbury’s Brentford and Isleworth seat (465)
- Wes Streeting in Ilford North (589)
- Enfield North (1,086) in which Zac Goldsmith’s Mayoral campaign manager Nick de Bois lost by 1,086 votes to Joan Ryan
Under Ed Miliband the party secured 43.7 per cent of the vote in the capital while the Conservatives mustered just 34.9%, helping Labour take a total of seven seats off the LibDems and Tories.
But recent polling suggests the party is currently the first choice of only 37% – just 3 points above the Tories who are polling in line with their 2015 performance.
Unsurprisingly some Tories are hopeful of picking up seats in June:
— Andrew Boff (@AndrewBoff) April 18, 2017
Having secured his own personal landslide last May, it’s likely this group of Labour marginal MPs will lean heavily on Sadiq Khan to help shore up their support and save their seats. Expect to see lots of photo-ops with the anti-Brexit Mayor in these seats.
Luckily, given that local government publicity rules will soon silence City Hall, Sadiq will have plenty of time to pose for pictures with his colleagues.
Whether his personal popularity can outweigh Jeremy Corbyn’s negative impact on the party’s support will make the race in London especially interesting.
But the far earlier than expected general election doesn’t only free up Sadiq to campaign for his pals, it also risks upsetting any plans he has to become Labour’s next leader.
Had events run their expected course, his term at City Hall would have expired on the same day as the 2020 general election, when some claimed he’d then seek to return to the Commons and stand in the resulting labour leadership election, becoming a one term mayor.
I’ve never been convinced that 5 years as opposition leader would lure Sadiq away from the mayoralty but whether you believe the theory or not, Labour’s expected crushing at the forthcoming general election means Corbyn’s likely to have departed long before Sadiq can get back into parliament.
A new charismatic, electable leader in Westminster who improved the party’s polling would dent Sadiq’s standing as mainstream Labour’s poster boy and could end any chance he has of ever taking the top job.