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A rumour has been doing the rounds since last summer, but according to Gilligan, Labour's London director Ken Clarke has recently been in telephone contact with the Amstrad boss for an "exploratory conversation", where he explained the selection process in detail.
Labour heads are trying to get party rank and file sweet on Sugar's candidacy, and had him appear via video link at a charity fundraiser in Canary Wharf last week. The reason? A growing concern that Ken Livingstone, who continues to rage against the dying of the light, is maneuvering himself into position for another run. Livingstone has taken to describing himself in recent weeks as "Labour's 2012 candidate".
Harry's Place think that Sugar could be what Mayor Bloomberg has been in New York City, a business-savvy mayor with a mindset strong enough to make tough decisions. Yet you'd have to be concerned about the paucity of decent candidates if Labour are reduced to picking a man who (until 1997) was a keen Thatcherite, and who has thus far seemed unwilling to muddy his tailored suit in the ditchwater of local politics. And his, ahem, "controversial" time as Tottenham chairman would surely lose the Haringey vote.
A Sugar vs. Johnson battle in 2012 would be a re-hash of the personality politics that marred last year's election, with "likeability" and the candidates' media profiles once again taking precedence over policies. Don't Londoners deserve better?