The London mayoralty needs to be reformed

Who does a capital city belong to? In the case of London tonight, one answer could be ‘Labour’, now that Sadiq Khan has claimed victory, as the party performs disastrously elsewhere. And clearly Khan’s strong support among the left-wing, the middle class, EU nationals (who are permitted to vote for the mayoralty), and some of the largest ethnic minority communities, shows that his chippy ID politics goes down well among enough residents of the capital to keep the keys to City Hall securely in his pocket. London’s decision to return Khan, when Labour is at such a low ebb, is a telling one Indeed, London’s decision to return Khan, when

Sadiq Khan’s cannabis stunt is typical of his empty gesture politics

Sadiq Khan’s decision to launch a commission looking into decriminalising cannabis is a perfect advert for his time as London mayor. It shows all too clearly that Khan values empty gesture politics over getting on with his day job. Don’t get me wrong: legalising cannabis seems a smart idea. It is, after all, a waste of police time and effort stopping the trade of drugs which are widely used and cause comparatively limited harm. But is it any of Khan’s business to focus on this issue? ‘It’s time for fresh ideas to reduce the harms drugs and drug-related crimes cause to individuals, families and communities,’ said Khan this week. ‘If re-elected, I’ll establish a London

Are the Tories trying to trash their reputation in London?

Shaun Bailey pulled off an amazing trick this week: he managed to unite Twitter. Left and right, Tory and Labour, Remainer and Brexiteer, all piled into a wondrously crass post by the Tory London mayoral candidate: ‘As a father and husband it breaks me to think that my wife and daughter have to live in fear in their own city. It doesn’t have to be this way. As Mayor, I‘ll ensure that we are working to deliver for the safety of women and girls in London.’ The message would have been in poor taste no matter what the timing. After all, why make crime in London about himself and his family? But

Is Sadiq Khan paying the political price of Covid?

When the London Mayoral election was delayed due to the pandemic, no one was particularly outraged: the prospect of Sadiq Khan’s re-election seemed secure and Shaun Bailey, the Tory challenger, was nowhere to be seen. But that might be changing. Internal polling by the Tory party, leaked to the Telegraph, suggests that Londoners have not been best pleased at the city’s recent fate – and Bailey is only seven points behind, at 35 to Khan’s 42 per cent. This is quite the difference from a March YouGov poll putting Bailey at a fairly hopeless 23 per cent. It’s not that Bailey has been much more visible – but it’s easy