James Forsyth

Why so many senior Tories want Zac Goldsmith to run for mayor

Why so many senior Tories want Zac Goldsmith to run for mayor
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Over the last few weeks, a string of senior Tories have urged Zac Goldsmith to run for Mayor of London. Goldsmith is, as I report in the Mail on Sunday, regarded by the Tory hierarchy as giving the party the best chance of keeping City Hall blue. In a contest that it will be very difficult for the Tories to win, Goldsmith scrambles the race—what other Tory would get Green second preferences?

The attraction of Goldsmith is particularly strong as Nick Ferrari, as Daniel Boffey writes in the Observer, is unlikely to throw his hat in the ring. At the top of the Tory party, there is a belief that it is worth putting up with Goldsmith’s anti-Heathrow stance and Out position on the EU to give the party a chance of winning—indeed, if the Tories did beat Labour in London in 2016, the new Labour leader would instantly find their leadership plunged into crisis. But I understand that Goldsmith is insistent that he can’t go for the mayoralty without the consent of his Richmond constituents. So, the question becomes how to secure that.

There are those on the Tory side who aren’t enamoured of the prospect of a Goldsmith candidacy, they regard him as too rich and too inexperienced. His detractors argue that the idea a blonde, Old Etonian who has never run anything bigger than a magazine could take charge of the capital is absurd. But, then again, the last one of those the Tories put up in London, won two mayoral elections.