That was the one-word reaction of Tim Donovan, the long-standing political editor of BBC London, when he saw the full horror of the 20 runners and riders in the race to be Mayor of London.
Poor old Tim, who has the world-weariness of someone who had to endure two terms of Boris Johnson never answering his questions, knows that in the spirit of “BBC impartiality”, all 20 of the candidates, including the most hopeless of no-hopers, the chancers, as well as Laurence Fox and Count Binface, will have to get a token mention in every serious broadcast report on the campaign trail between now and May 6.
The deadline for nominations to be received was 4pm yesterday.
And while the requirement remains for a £10,000 entry fee (if the candidate wants to have their “mini manifesto” hand-delivered to every voter in the capital; three appear to have declined that opportunity), for this year’s elections, which were postponed from 2020, because of coronavirus candidates needed to collect only two nominations from residents in each of the 32 boroughs, plus the City of London. The previous requirement was for 10 nominators per borough. They won’t be making that mistake again.
The candidates standing for the Mayor of London (in the order they’ll appear on the ballot paper and with their chosen party or independent description) are:
BAILEY Shaun Conservative Party Candidate
BALAYEV Kam Renew
BERRY Sian Green Party
BINFACE Count Count Binface for Mayor of London
BROWN Valerie The Burning Pink Party
CORBYN Piers Let London Live
FOSH Max Independent
FOX Laurence The Reclaim Party
GAMMONS Peter UKIP
HEWISON Richard Rejoin EU
HUDSON Vanessa Animal Welfare Party – People, Animals, Environment
KELLEHER Steve Social Democratic Party
KHAN Sadiq Labour Party
KURTEN David Heritage Party
LONDON Farah Independent
OBUNGE Nims Independent
OMILANA Niko Independent
PORRITT Luisa Liberal Democrats
REID Mandu Vote Women’s Equality Party on orange
ROSE Brian London Real Party
And yes, as well as anti-vaxers and others of questionable outlook and intention, they do actually include a UKIP candidate called Gammons – though as this was a party that has had Dick Braine as its leader, we probably ought not be surprised.
The Women’s Equality Party appears to have a bit of a snafu when it came to filling in their nomination form, as in the column for the party’s name, they managed to write “Vote Women’s Equality Party on orange”: an apparent attempt to steer their voters towards one particular ballot paper, as they try to get a candidate elected on the London-wide Assembly list.
The previous record number of candidates was 12, in 2016, when Labour’s Sadiq Khan was elected as Mayor.
The London Mayoral election is conducted on a transferrable vote basis, with those candidates receiving fewer votes being eliminated and their second preferences being transferred. In the five previous Mayoral elections, additional rounds of voting have been required when no single candidate has managed to accrue 50 per cent or more of the ballot for an absolute majority. Judging by recent polling, Khan might just achieve that this time.
The lists of candidates for the 14 constituencies and the London-wide “list candidates” for the London Assembly are to be published shortly. On polling day, voters across London will have at least three voting papers: for the Mayor; for their London Assembly constituency; and for the London-wide Assembly list (five wards in Croydon are also voting that day in council by-elections).
Today, after publishing the Mayoral candidates list, Mary Harpley, the Greater London Returning Officer, said, “The Mayor and the London Assembly hold important and powerful roles. The winning Mayoral candidate will be responsible for issues that affect every Londoner – from transport and policing, to housing and the environment.
“It’s up to Londoners to make a decision on who will run the capital for the next three years. Our website www.londonelects.org.uk tells you everything you need to know about these elections and what the Mayor and London Assembly Members are responsible for. Remember also to look out for the booklet coming through your letterbox in April.”
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Pretty lacklustre line-up. Hard to take any of them seriously including the largely invisible Khan. Shows what the two main parties think of the post.