Luisa Porritt to run for Lib Dems in London mayoral vote

Former MEP Luisa Porritt has been chosen as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London for next year’s election.

The Camden councillor is the party’s second pick, after former mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita stepped down in May.

Ms Benita said the cost of running unpaid and differences with party headquarters on her approach to campaigning had forced her to quit the race.

Ms Porritt ran unopposed to replace her in a members ballot, with the only other option available being to reopen nominations.

She was set to go head to head with business woman Geeta Sidhu-Robb – but her opponent withdrew from the race, after a video emerged of her urging Muslim voters not to back a Jewish candidate in the 1997 General Election.

Ms Porritt has represented Belsize ward as a councillor since 2018, snatching the seat from the Conservatives by just nine votes following a recount.

She was a surprise third selected MEP for the Liberal Democrats in London when the party topped the polls in the capital last year.

Ms Porritt said her selection comes at a “crucial moment” for the capital, with the coronavirus pandemic permanently changing the city.

“I will show what a liberal London can be like – where the 600 neighbourhoods that make up our capital lead the way,” she said.

“As a lifelong Londoner, I know our capital is resilient. With the right leadership, creativity and vision, we can reinvent our city for the better.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey – himself a London MP, representing Kingston and Surbiton – said he was “delighted” to see Ms Porritt selected.

“Having beat the Tories in Camden and winning London-wide in the European elections last year, Luisa knows how to defy the odds and win,” he said.

The mayoral hopeful will have to make up significant ground on incumbent Sadiq Khan to stand a chance in next year’s election.

The latest poll, in September showed 11 per cent of Londoners planned to back a Lib Dem candidate, then unselected, while 48 per cent made Mr Khan their first pick.

Conservative Shaun Bailey was on 28 per cent and Green Sian Berry on nine per cent, according to the Refield & Wilton Strategies survey.

The Mayoral and London Assembly election will take place in May next year.

Harrow Times | Local News