A record breaking 20 candidates are in the running for City Hall which was announced today. With all this choice it’s useful to know the distinctions between them.

Our current mayor, Sadiq Khan for Labour, is gunning for a re-election raising issues with racism, lgbtq+ rights and promising to end new HIV transmission by 2030. However, he has some competition from Shaun Bailey of the Conservatives who is a former youth worker vouching to tackle the roots of crime. Green Party Sian Berry, Lib-Dem Luisa Porritt and Laurence Fox from the newly formed reclaim party are also considerable competition.  

Other candidates include Valerie Brown for Burning Pink who promises to place the community at the heart of decisions and Nims Obunge an independent pastor tackling knife crime. The anti-vaxxer and know conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn is also running for Let London Live.

Due to COVID-19 the 2020 mayoral election was pushed to May 6 2021 and consequently the lucky candidate will only have 3 years in office as opposed to 4. The london mayoral election operates under “supplementary vote” (SV) system whereby the voter ranks the candidates in order of preference and a single winner is selected. After the first round the candidates with least votes are eliminated and their second choices are allocated to the others, until a candidate gets a clear majority of votes. 

There is normally one column on voting sheet with 25 columns but due to the sheer amount of candidates this year, the need for 2 columns of 10 has arisen. This had led to concerns about whether voters will mistakenly select their first preference from the first column only and their second preference from the second column. This confusion could make or break the election.

On the 17th of May controversy was sparked by Priti Patels decision to abandon this SV system used since 2000 in favour for first past the post (FPP) for 2024 onwards. This is used for general elections and often criticised for its inaccuracy and lack of fairness due to parties being elected to government with less than 40% of the public vote. This was outlined by Boris Johnson in his 2019 election manifesto when he said the government will aim to expand the use of FPP at a local level. 

This controversial change to the system could reflect poorly on the Conservative Party, dampening Bailey’s chance to become Mayor, leaning the election in Khan’s favour yet again.