The Liberal Democrats will unveil their 2024 London mayoral candidate on Friday, the Local Democracy Reporting Service can reveal.
The party had initially planned to announce the chosen candidate in September, but have brought the contest’s conclusion forwards.
Two shortlisted candidates – Rob Blackie and Chris French – have been put to the Lib Dems’ London membership to vote on over the last few weeks.
Mr Blackie, a digital marketer who advises start-up tech companies, served as former party leader Charles Kennedy’s director of research during the Iraq War. He has twice stood for the London Assembly and has previously been shortlisted, though not chosen, for the mayoral role.
Mr French, a former Met Police special constable who now works in the health sector, stood for Lambeth Council last year. He has also been selected as the party’s parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall at the next general election.
Both are also standing for the London Assembly, though if either is elected as mayor, they will not also be able to sit on the Assembly.
The result will be announced at a campaign rally in central London on Friday morning.
The party will be hoping to improve on their record from recent mayoral contests.
In the last three mayoral elections, the party has come fourth, with the Greens beating them to third place. In the last four elections, they have failed to gain more than five per cent of the vote, losing them their £10,000 deposit in each.
At the last election in 2021, former London MEP Luisa Porritt secured 4.4 per cent for the party.
Their best ever result was in 2004, when Simon Hughes – at that time the MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey – achieved 15.3 per cent of first preference votes.
Next year’s election will be the first time that a first past the post system is used to choose the mayor, following changes brought in by the Government.
Labour’s Sadiq Khan is gearing up to contend for an extraordinary third term as the Mayor of London. Conversely, the Conservative Party has designated Susan Hall, hailing from Harrow and a London Assembly Member, as their candidate for the upcoming mayoral election.
The Greens have chosen Hackney councillor Zoë Garbett, while Reform UK – previously known as the Brexit Party – have chosen Howard Cox, founder of the Fair Fuel UK campaign.
The election will be held on May 2, 2024.