Sir Alan For City Hall?

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 121 months ago
Sir Alan For City Hall?
City Hall

May's mayoral election was criticised by psephological purists for being all style over substance: much of Boris' appeal lay in his ebullient media persona, honed by regular appearances on Have I Got News For You. If certain rumours are to be believed, then BBC television shows could be the new proving ground for mayoral candidates - Labour insiders are apparently considering Sir Alan Sugar as their man for the 2012 election.

Labour want a top businessman as their candidate, and have reportedly shortlisted the self-made millionaire, cheekily ignoring the fact that in recent years 'Surallan' has been renowned for his surliness on The Apprentice rather than any business acumen. William Hill are offering 20/1 odds on Sugar stepping into City Hall four years hence.

All of which may come as a surprise to Ken Livingstone, who's been acting like the presumptive Labour candidate ever since he left office. His garden remains unweeded as, since his defeat, Ken has launched a string of broadsides against his successor, sending letters, issuing press releases and causing general bother. His busybodying is alarming Labour, who fear he may run another independent campaign if not selected. Historian and Labour cheerleader Tristram Hunt pleaded with Livingstone to "get over it" in today's Guardian, claiming that he is not only undermining his legacy but also damaging Labour's future mayoral interests.

Having spent most of his life enmeshed in the murky shallows of London politics, perhaps Ken is simply unable to move on. Or perhaps he's itching to get his mitts on whatever remains of his secret liquor stash. Whichever way, he doesn't seem to have understood that moving out of City Hall effectively meant his employment was terminated. Who better to deliver the coup de gras than Sugar? "Ken.... you're fired".

Image of City Hall courtesy of violinconcertono3's Flickrstream via the Londonist pool

Last Updated 23 June 2008


While I don't think Ken should get the nod in 2012 (I'd quite like to see Jon Cruddas go for it; I'd certainly prefer someone with a record in public office to a businessman whose political views are pretty much unknown), I'm fully in favour of his continuing to act as if he were the candidate until one is selected. While the Labour, LD and Green members of the GLA can scrutinise Boris, the media don't pay that much attention to them. Ken gets coverage.


You're right - if Ken acts as a lightning rod for all the anti-Tory vote, then it will help keep London Labour visible in what are likely to be some trying years. The trouble is, I don't think Ken's likely to shy away once the inevitable happens and they have to select somebody. He's not the candidate Labour should put forward.

Ken's ability to run an independent campaign is proven (though he wouldn't have anywhere like the goodwill and support he enjoyed in 2000) and he could just be a Nader to the official Labour candidate's Al Gore.

Good shout on Cruddas, though.