Margaret Hodge for London Mayor?

July 11, 2013 12:21 pm

I’ve just finished recording the Guardian Politics podcast – which will be on their website later – during which Polly Toynbee said that she thought Margaret Hodge might throw her hat into the ring for Mayor of London. It’s a rumour I’ve heard a few times this week myself, and it certainly seems like the combative PAC Chair is considering a run at the role. But it could be a crowded field.

And of course that selection contest will now be an open primary following Ed Miliband’s speech on Tuesday – something that Sadiq Khan (a potential mayoral candidate and Shadow Minister for London) was quick to welcome.

Other names mooted in the past have included David Lammy, Jon Cruddas, Oona King,Stella Creasy, Diane Abbott and of course, Eddie Izzard. Alan Johnson has ruled himself out of the running, whilst Transport expert Christian Wolmar has already announced his candidacy.

  • Robbie Scott

    Margret would be welcome and i think it’s a great shame that somebody as talented as her didn’t get into the cabinet.

    • Matthew Blott

      I agree. Looking at the candidate list she looks head and shoulders above the rest – although that isn’t saying too much, there isn’t any obviously outstanding candidate. Jon Cruddas would be acceptable but I’m not sure he has enough support. Stella Creasy lacks a big enough profile and I’m not sure David Lammy is really up to it. Eddie Izzard is a nice bloke and I’d have no problem with him being mayor but luvvies turn off as many voters as they attract. It’s a shame some here are commenting about Hodge’s age. I prefer someone with a bit of mileage compared with young spotty party apparatchiks that form too much of the political class these days.

      • Robbie Scott

        David Lammy not being up to it ? Lots of people make comments like that about him and im not sure why? Unlike any of the other candidates he used to be on the GLA so that would give him a huge advantage as Mayor as he’d know where all the levers were. The reason i ask is he’s got a ridiculously strong academic background and he performed excellently during the riots and was the voice of London almost with Boris on holiday.

        • dave stone

          “he performed excellently during the riots ”

          Goodness, I never thought I’d live to see the day…

          Lammy made a fool out of himself when he blamed the riots on Labour’s “anti-smacking law”.

          • Robbie Scott

            You’re not speaking to the issue he’s talking about discipline. It’s really easy to focus in on smacking to say the whole article is silly. The media coverage was very good for him irrespective of the policy minutia you’ve highlighted.

            They’re talking about the softly softly approach which was encouraged during that period. Many parents felt abandoned and essentially left to rot. Had they put their teens into care we’d have to foot that bill.

            I’m not a David cheerleader, lots of people are dismissive of him and point out that he never got a serious ministerial post under Blair and Brown etc. I just wondered why people had that view that’s all.

          • dave stone

            His prospects would be significantly enhanced if he included this on his campaign literature: “never got a serious ministerial post under Blair and Brown.”

          • Mike Homfray

            Even though my politics are to the left of his I actually think he would make a really effective candidate.

            And this is London – and I do think there is a case for saying a candidate from the BME community would be good. In terms of being a figurehead, which is to a large extent what the job is about.

          • Robbie Scott

            Well if there’s an open primary with Lammy or Kahn on the ticket they’ll do extremely well for that reason. 90% of BME people vote Labour if you can get them to register then a BME candidate is likely to do very well.

          • dave stone

            Siobhan Benita has been tweeting very favourably on Ed Miliband lately and, as a non-establishment figure, she would probably romp it on a Labour ticket.

            Benita has said she’ll stand again and, given the deserved loss in trust in mainstream parties, is likely to be a major force.

            But it’s best to expect the unexpected. Now that Labour has thrown in the towel on opposition to Tory austerity a growing number of austerity discontents/victims/foodbank users etc. are without a mainstream political voice.

            Certainly, dangerous times lie ahead. An equivalent to Italy’s Five Star movement could easily emerge – which may be characterised by Left or Right politics.

          • Robbie Scott

            Don’t think she’d ever get onto a Labour panel and i don’t think members would want her on a panel in 2016. All this talk of primaries is all very well and good but unless the party machine shortlist you, you’re wasting your time.

            Last time around it was Oona V Ken, I think i’m right in saying that nobody else stood. There will be a lot of Labour talent going for selection this time around from both wings of the party and i don’t think a outsider will get a look in or anybody remotely interesting.

            I don’t really agree with your point about apathy, turn out was good in 2012 and people still went for the main two parties and even pushed the greens up to third.

            I’m not in favour of primaries but if we’re going to have them for Mayor then i think we ought to have them for GLA members and certainly the top up list I think that would certainly spice things up.

          • Matthew Blott

            I agree with you there – lack of discipline is definitely a problem that the left have a problem grasping.

        • Matthew Blott

          I didn’t say he wasn’t up to it I said I wasn’t sure. I suppose that’s mainly based on the fact he’s been around a while and never really done much as far as I can see despite great things being expected of him (he was unfortunate to be cursed with “Britain’s first black prime minister” tag). I might be persuaded otherwise and I didn’t mean to pick him out – quite a few of them are underwhelming and they all have negatives. I’m not sure a good academic background qualifies someone – isn’t that part of the problem, no real life experience?

          • Robbie Scott

            Ah , I hear that a lot about Lammy and it’s true I suppose. I think your spot on with “Britain’s first black prime minister” the spot light was on him and he isn’t a performer. In contrast to Chuka who is a bit of a media darling. But i’m not sure he’s as good on policy though when he’s pushed.

            I don’t think ‘real life experience’ is hugely important for such a strategic job. It’s important if your PM or an MP but a Mayor or council leader actually requires somebody with a strategic ability and academic level thinking.

            You don’t need a degree Ken didn’t have one but he could operate at a postgraduate level and i think that’s extremely important. Real life experience is good when you’re required to exercise judgment and i think it’s more important for a Mayor to have policy expertise than be grounded.

  • dave stone

    Hodge’s ‘Britons First’ call re social housing, for which she was presented with a bouquet by the BNP, should go down a treat in the city that is said to be the most diverse in the world.

    A sensible alternative view is offered by respected anti-racist campaigners Hope not Hate:

  • AlanGiles

    This will sound ungallant, but Ms. Hodge will be 72 by the time of the next Mayoral Election. If she served two terms, as most would-be mayors aspire to do, she would be 80 on leaving office.

    As we have to get down with the kids so much these days, would a candidate over 70 go down with the young voters, and the trendies in their Dockside lofts?.

    As far as I recall the alleged comedian Mr Ezzard has pencilled himself for 2020.

    I would think Cruddas is too busy to worry about 2016 at the moment, considering he still has the best part of two years to chisel out his tablets of stone for the “review”.
    I’d be happy with Diane Abbott, but I suspect the right wing Labourites wouldn’t be and they might do to her what they did to Ken Livingstone.

    AG 11/7/13 1438BST

    • Matthew Blott

      You’re right. It does sound ungallant.

  • rekrab

    If I were a Londoner, I’d be saying stop playing the Jerusalem card, what happened to Ken was disgraceful. Are you reading Rob?

  • dave stone

    It’s got to be Margaret Hodge or Oona KIng – either would work wonders for the campaign of any People before Profit/anti-machine politics candidate who might stand.

  • charles.ward

    Well it would continue the tradition of tax hypocrisy started by the previous Labour candidate. Perhaps the national party can advise her on the most tax efficient way to receive donations to her campaign.

  • PaulHalsall

    Bring back Ken.

    • Matthew Blott


  • Matthew Blott

    Ken Livingstone said the last contest was the last time he’d stand for election.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      He is wise. I think the reality is that he realised that it is was the last election that anyone could stand him running in.

  • Alexwilliamz

    Surely the perfect opportunity for a certain milliband to move back into the political circus?

    • Carolekins


  • Daniel Speight

    What if UKIP find a celebrity to stand? The above list doesn’t look like it could withstand a Boris-like personality.


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