Corbyn refuses to rule out running for London Mayor
Jeremy Corbyn has sent shockwaves through the Labour Party by revealing that he is considering running as an independent candidate in next year’s London Mayor elections.
The former Labour leader has been barred from running as a candidate for his old party by Sir Keir Starmer over the anti-semtisim row which dogged his leadership.
But speaking at an Edinburgh Festival Fringe event with Conservative commentator Iain Dale and for Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey, Mr Corbyn gave his strongest indication yet that he is planning to run for London Mayor next May.
Asked at the event if he was considering to make a bid for the mayoralty, he replied: “Well let’s have a think about it, shall we?”
If he does make a bid to run the UK’s capital it will be a massive blow to Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan who is already facing a stiff challenge because of his personal unpopularity and fury over his decision to expand the hated Ulrea Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
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READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to rule out taking on Sadiq Khan with London Mayor bid
Despite Labour’s massive lead in the polls, Mr Khan is believed to be vulnerable because of the widespread anger over his ULEZ expansion which will cost thousands of Londoners £12.50 a day to use the vehicles.
He was blamed for the Uxbridge and South Rusilip by-election defeat for Labour in Boris Johnson’s former seat and there have been rumours he could be replaced by Brent North MP Dawn Butler or Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan.
If Mr Corbyn were to run it would split the Labour vote but as an independent candidate the former party leader would in many people’s eyes be the favourite to win.
It would also improve the chances of Conservative candidate Susan Hall who has pledged to switch off the ULEZ cameras on day one if she is elected.
Meanwhile, Corbyn running for London Mayor would pose massive problems for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with the left of his party already in open revolt against his policy U-turns.
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The Edinburgh Fringe event took place yesterday (Saturday August 5) and Mr Corbyn was asked if he would stand as an independent candidate at the next general election.
He told the audience: “I’m very happy and very proud to be the MP for Islington North. I live in the area, I know large numbers of people in the area.
“I have learned a great deal from the people I represent. I am available to represent the people if that is what they wish.”
Questioned over whether he plans stand for mayor, he said: “Well, let’s have a think about it, shall we?
“I want to see change in our society. I’m not disappearing, I’m not going away.
“I look at my diary and I’m more active than I have ever been at any other time in my life.”
Mr Corbyn and mr McCluskey were at the event to talk about an anthology of poems “For the Many”, which they have jointly put together and will be published in November.
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