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Two brand new candidates emerge in London mayoral election

Two new candidates have emerged in the fast-growing group of contenders for this year’s London mayoral election.

Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Amy Gallagher and independent Shyam Batra have both said they want to unseat Labour mayor Sadiq Khan in the fight for City Hall in May.

A total of 12 candidates have now declared that they will be running for the job, which Mr Khan is seeking to hold for an historic third term.

Ms Gallagher is a nurse, while Mr Batra is a finance and property broker.

Ms Gallagher said: “Working as a nurse in hospitals and in the community, I’ve seen how the city has changed.

“Poor living conditions, lack of community, division, increases in crime, unreliable public transport: many people feel like politicians have let them down and they never get the change they were promised.”

She rose to some prominence after it was reported in 2022 that she was suing the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, religion and philosophical belief, as well as victimisation and harassment.

The SDP traces its origins to the party of the same name formed in 1981 by four Labour moderates who were disaffected by the left-wing direction of opposition leader Michael Foot.

The current SDP was formed in 1990 by members who had been opposed to the original SDP’s 1988 merger with the Liberal party, which had resulted in the formation of the Liberal Democrats.

The party today describes itself as “patriotic, economically left-leaning, and culturally traditional”. In 2021’s mayoral election, SDP candidate Steve Kelleher achieved 0.3 per cent of first preference votes.

Independent candidate Mr Batra has meanwhile said he wants to “fix London and give people a voice”.

He has pledged if elected to abolish the Ultra low emission zone (Ulez) as well as the congestion zone and 20mph speed limits.

The candidate told the BBC: “I drive an old car and now when I drive into London I have to pay congestion and Ulez charges. It is a joke. You should not be charged for driving in your own city.”

His other priorities include tackling the cost-of-living crisis and introducing “a finance scheme to get everyone on the property ladder” and to “fix the problems with temporary housing”.

He added: “I know what the general public think and want because I am one of them. I am fed up myself and if I am mayor I won’t take any nonsense.”

More mayoral candidates could be declared over the coming weeks as nominations for the election remain open until March 27. The election will be held on May 2, along with elections to the London Assembly.

A total of 20 candidates stood in 2021. The 12 candidates declared so far are:

  • Shyam Batra, independent
  • Rob Blackie, Liberal Democrats
  • Natalie Campbell, independent
  • Howard Cox, Reform UK
  • Zoë Garbett, Green Party
  • Amy Gallagher, SDP
  • George Galloway, Workers Party of Britain
  • Tarun Ghulati, independent
  • Susan Hall, Conservative
  • Rayhan Haque, independent
  • Sadiq Khan, Labour
  • Andreas Michli, independent

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