Tessa Jowell to seek Labour nomination for London mayor

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Tessa Jowell has become the third person to seek the Labour nomination to become mayor of London.

The former culture secretary said she would formally declare her candidacy after the general election in May when applications would open. The mayoral election will be held in May 2016.

“I intend to bring a plan for London that will be bold, ambitious, and will meet the aspirations of all Londoners. The mayor of London has the power to make a profound and lasting difference to the lives of millions of Londoners,” she said.

Jowell persuaded then prime minister Tony Blair to support London’s ultimately successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in 2005. After Labour lost power in 2010 she remained involved in the Olympics as shadow minister and as a member of the London 2012 organising committee.

The MP will stand down as MP for Dulwich and West Norwood to concentrate on her campaign after 22 years in the Commons. It was unclear whether Jowell still intended to take up an academic post at the London School of Economics.

Jowell, 67, is the third person to declare an intention to become the Labour candidate after Tottenham MP David Lammy and transport commentator Christian Wolmar.

Labour is thought to have a good chance of regaining control of city hall when Boris Johnson steps down. He is expected to be elected as an MP for the second time next year after being selected as the Tory candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in September.

Johnson has been mayor since 2008. He had pledged not to become an MP while still being mayor but defended his U-turn by claiming that London was no longer in recession.

He won a second term in 2012, defeating Ken Livingstone by 51.5% to 48.5% - a narrower margin than had been expected. Johnson won on second preference votes after gaining 44% in the first round.

Jowell’s declaration could deter other prominent Labour figures from putting their hats in the ring. Hackney MP Diane Abbott is thought to be a likely candidate for the nomination, along with Tooting MP and shadow London minister Sadiq Khan. Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee and MP for Barking, is another potential contender.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Chris Johnston, for theguardian.com on Saturday 22nd November 2014 14.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010