The four Tory hopefuls (or 'Top Tories' in tabloid sub-editor's argot) for next May's London mayoral elections will be put through their paces at a hustings for Conservatives in the capital this evening, where this Londonista has managed to bag a seat (despite neither being a Tory nor originally from London) to report whatever clangers Boris Johnson intentionally drops into the mix. The winner (ie. Boris) will then be declared to an audience of dozing pensioners in Blackpool on September 30 at the opening of their annual conference.
These four hopefuls are joined by a further three from the Liberal Democrats, who announced their three-strong shortlist for selecting a mayoral candidate this morning. This is the party who thought Susan Kramer (remember her? us neither) and the oleaginous Simon Hughes had something to offer the capital. Brian Paddick, you will of course recognise, but barrister Chamali Fernando and local CAB boss Fiyaz Mughal, probably not. Making up the numbers, eh guys?
So, short of a major scandal or untimely death, expect Ken, Boris and Brian next May. Possibly the first real mayoral contest we've had since Blair introduced the office of Mayor almost a decade ago now.