Thirteen ‘runners and riders’ have officially thrown their hats into the ring for the upcoming London Mayoral Election, each with their own compelling story to tell. Below is a breakdown of all the contenders.
Labour candidate Sadiq Khan is seeking an historic third term as mayor, having served in the role since 2016. Mr Khan has stayed tight-lipped over the pledges he will be making to Londoners ahead of the May election, saying that voters will have to “wait for the manifesto”.
He recently announced however that if re-elected, he will be extending his universal free school meal programme – which provides lunches to all primary school children – for a further year.
The mayor told the Local Democracy Reporting Service last week: “I hope Londoners will know from my track record, when we’ve got the means to do so, I do things like freezing fares, I do things like prioritising universal free school meals.”
He added that he wants to make London “safer, more prosperous, more affordable and fairer as well”.
He said in February 2023 that he was standing again “so we can finish the job of reforming the police service, we can finish the job of cleaning the air in our city, we can finish the job of the post-pandemic recovery, we can finish the job to build far more genuinely affordable homes that Londoners desperately need – and much more”.
Under the supplementary vote system used in the 2021 mayoral election, Mr Khan received 40 per cent of first preference votes, rising to 55.2 per cent once second preferences had been counted. This year’s election will be conducted using first past the post however, meaning that Londoners will only be able to vote for one candidate.
Conservative candidate Susan Hall has served as a member of the London Assembly since 2017 and as a councillor in Harrow since 2006.
Ms Hall has pledged to remove the outer London expansion of the Ultra low emission zone (Ulez) “on day one” of her mayoralty, arguing that it has “been absolutely devastating for people who cannot afford to go to work, get to the hospital or visit their family”.
She has said that her campaign will be focused on delivering “safer streets and more money in your pocket”.
The candidate has promised to invest £200m into the Met Police and to set up specialist units within the police to tackle burglaries, robberies, and thefts.
On housing, Ms Hall has promised to “build a lot more homes in the right places… homes that people want to live in, which do not disrupt existing communities or the Green Belt”.
She believes that most low traffic neighbourhoods “just create congestion and worsen air quality” and has said she would encourage councils to remove them, while removing 20mph limits from main roads controlled by Transport for London (TfL).
Ms Hall has said she would “revitalise” the capital’s night economy and commission a statue of Queen Elizabeth II in Trafalgar Square, in consultation with Buckingham Palace.
The Conservatives’ 2021 candidate, Shaun Bailey, received 35.3 per cent of first preference votes, rising to 44.8 per cent once second preferences had been counted.
Green Party candidate Zoë Garbett is a councillor in Dalston, Hackney. She pledges to de-prioritise the policing of cannabis and to make public transport more affordable – including free bus travel for under-22s. A vocal opponent of the Silvertown Tunnel’s construction, she says it should be repurposed for public transport and is a “blight” on Sadiq Khan’s climate record. Ms Garbett would also lobby for rent control powers, boost council housing and address “huge failings” in the Met Police. The Greens came third in 2021’s mayoral election, winning 7.8 per cent of first preference votes.
Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie says he will “get the police to focus on serious crimes and earn the respect of Londoners”. He believes the Met is “wasting time on low level drug offences like laughing gas” and should be freed up “to investigate rapes and serious sexual offences properly”. He has pledged to help undocumented Londoners by providing legal support to secure their British status, as well as cleaning up the capital’s rivers and boosting solar power on rooftops. The Lib Dems came fourth in 2021, securing 4.4 per cent of first preference votes and losing their £10,000 deposit.
Reform UK candidate Howard Cox is founder of the FairFuelUK campaign. He has pledged to scrap the entire Ulez and “extensively increase policing visibility 24/7 to cut crime and make streets safer for all”. He would also “massively increase affordable housing numbers, particularly for young and low-income families”.
Independent candidate Shyam Batra is a property and finance broker who wants to “give people a voice”. He promises to abolish the Ulez, the congestion zone and 20mph speed limits.
Count Binface of the Count Binface Party is again throwing his “lid into the mayoral ring”. In 2021’s contest, he promised to rename London Bridge “after Phoebe Waller” and for no shop to be allowed to sell croissants for more than £1.
Independent candidate Natalie Campbell promises to “take a CEO’s approach to deliver recovery and growth”. Co-CEO of bottled water company Belu and chancellor of the University of Westminster, she was originally longlisted to be the Conservative candidate.
Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Amy Gallagher says she will “push back on woke ideology”. She also pledges to “depoliticise the police” and make transport free for under-25s.
Workers Party of Britain candidate George Galloway previously stood for the Respect Party in 2016, winning 1.6 per cent of first preference votes. His current party advocates for “decent, cheap, secure housing for all” and “an end to imperialist wars”.
Independent candidate Tarun Ghulati wants to re-open closed police stations in areas with high crime and to tackle inequality in London. The investment banker believes the capital has “lost its mojo” and he aims to “bring back the smiles” on Londoners’ faces.
Independent candidate Rayhan Haque proposes introducing car-free Sundays in central London once a month, making the capital “AI-ready”, and making London a ‘four-day week city’ by 2030.
Independent candidate Andreas Michli is a gym owner who wants to “make London strong”. He proposes free gym memberships for Londoners and to train police officers up to blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.