London Assembly member Andrew Boff, Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith, Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing, and MEP Syed Kamall are to compete to become the Conservative’s 2016 Mayoral candidate.
While Mr Goldsmith is widely regarded as the front runner due to his cross-party appeal he could face stiff competition from Andrew Boff, the party’s leader on the Assembly, and Mr Greenhalgh who is the only candidate to have executive experience at City Hall.
Perhaps less well known to most Londoners, Mr Kamall has represented the capital in the European Parliament since 2005 where he’s been Leader of the Conservative group. He previously stood in the inaugural London Assembly election in 2000.
The party revealed the four-strong shortlist on Saturday, ending the mayoral ambitions of footballer Sol Campbell, entrepreneur Ivan Massow and Westminster council leader Philippa Roe.
Speaking after the shortlist was revealed, Mr Goldsmith said he was “thrilled” to make it through to the next stage of the contest while Mr Kamall promised to run “on a platform of ambition, opportunity & enterprise.”
Last month it was announced that party bosses would draw up a shortlist of possible candidates before opening up the selection process to party members and non-members who can pay a £1 registration fee to take part.
All four of the successful contenders will now take part in a series of hustings ahead of the vote to select a final candidate, the result of that ballot is expected to be announced in September.
London regional chairman Ian Twinn said: “We have four excellent candidates who will now campaign across London over the summer before all Londoners will get the opportunity to vote in our primary in September.”
The decision not to put Philippa Roe on the shortlist has prompted criticism from Labour’s Dame Tessa Jowell who is widely expected to win her party’s selection.
Dame Tessa said: “It is extraordinary that Tory central office believe that they have no women who are fit even to be considered to be their candidate for Mayor of London.
“London is a modern, open city built on diversity, it’s time the Conservatives caught up.”