George Galloway tweets his intention to run for London mayor

George Galloway

The Respect party leader, George Galloway, has announced his intention to run for mayor of London in 2016.

Galloway, who lost his seat in Bradford West in the general election, launched his bid on Twitter on Thursday, tweeting a photograph of himself sitting on a bed next to his infant son. “Dad, you’ve got to do this. I’ve got your back!” a caption on the photograph reads.

Speaking on LBC radio after the announcement, Galloway said that he had lived in London for nearly 35 years and had been MP for Bethnal Green and Bow for five years between 2005 and 2010.

He said: “I have a keen understanding of the plurality of London’s population, with many marginalised communities, many of them poor white people, left behind by the drift to the centre and the homogeneity of the mainstream political system.”

Galloway speculated that he could win the mayoral election if he got more votes than the Labour candidate because of the supplementary vote system used to elect London’s mayor.

“The way to win is to come ahead of the Labour candidate because then the second preferences of Labour voters will kick in,” he said, adding that he did not see any of the potential candidates as a threat.

Galloway lost his Bradford West seat by 11,000 votes to his Labour opponent, Naz Shah, on 7 May but later declared that he would be challenging the result because of “widespread malpractice”.

Asked if he would be ditching the challenge to focus on his mayoral campaign, Galloway said: “It is not me who is making that attempt and it is being made and it will be made in the next few hours. An election petition will be launched by citizens in Bradford to do that.”

He did not rule out running in a future byelection in the constituency, saying that it would depend on when it was held. But he said: “My focus now is on the London voting. I’m going for it.”

London’s City Hall elections will take place next May, when Boris Johnson, who was elected as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the general election, will stand down as mayor.

Galloway added: “There’s a tide in the affairs of this country, seeking independent-minded larger than life candidates for these directly elected positions and that’s what I’m going to try to do.

“[Boris] has been very successful in projecting himself as an iconoclastic, independent-minded person, even when in fact his views are pretty mainstream right-wing.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Thursday 28th May 2015 18.50 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010