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London Referendum Friday, 10 April, 1998, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Who's in the running for Mayor?
If London says "Yes" to a new assembly it will be up to two years before voters finally decide who they want to be their first directly elected mayor. But there are already a host of names being put into the hat.

So far only Jeffrey Archer, Ken Livingstone and Tony Banks have said they will definitely be candidates. But others are refusing to rule themselves either in or out of contention.

  • Lord Archer
  • Tony Banks
  • Richard Branson
  • Michael Cassidy
  • Frank Dobson
  • Toby Harris
  • Margaret Hodge
  • Simon Hughes
  • Glenda Jackson
  • Ken Livingstone
  • David Mellor
  • Steven Norris
  • Chris Patten
  • Trevor Phillips
  • Chris Smith

    Lord Archer

    The first to say he wanted the job as Mayor of London. Lord Archer is a former GLC councillor and in fact was its youngest member when elected at the age of 26 in 1966. He is better known though for his millionaire novelist status. He has already pledged to give his salary to charity if elected and has been running a high profile campaign backing his candidacy.

    So far Lord Archer's campaign has included a visit to New York, where he met Mayor Rudi Giuliani, the launch of a web site, and a questionnaire posted to thousands of Londoners. He was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1985-6, and made a life peer in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 1992.

    Tony Banks

    Twelve years ago Tony Banks was the last chairman of the Greater London Council, having worked alongside its leader Ken Livingstone in the campaign to keep it alive.

    An MP since 1983, after the demise of the GLC he focussed more on his parliamentary career, and of course his other great love, Chelsea Football Club. Banks is famous for his lively character and a mouth that can sometimes get him into trouble ( as it did when he labelled Tory leader William Hague a foetus).

    He was made Sports minister under the new Labour administration, and has the task now of trying to get the 2006 World Cup to England. Has openly said though that he wants to be a candidate for mayor if Londoners decide they want one.

    Richard Branson

    Having set up his own student magazine and Student Advisory centre in his teens, Richard Branson founded Virgin as a mail order record retailer in 1970.

    Shortly after this he opened a record shop in Oxford Street and in 1972 built a recording studio which produced the very successful Mike Oldfield album, Tubular Bells.

    The equity of Virgin Music was sold to Thorn EMI in 1992 in a 1 billion US dollar deal. Virgin Atlantic Airways, former by Branson in 1984, continued the success of the name and is now the second largest British long haul international airline. He has since added other divisions to his business empire including financial services and Virgin trains.

    Personal ambitions have led him to become involved in record breaking attempts including the Challenger crossing and balloon expeditions to cross the Atlantic and circumnavigate the globe.

    Michael Cassidy

    Senior partner at a London law firm. Used to run the City of London Corporation until the beginning of 1997.

    Frank Dobson

    Long parliamentary career, appointed Health Secretary in May 1997. Experienced and popular cabinet figure who is currently favourite to get Blair's nod as the Stop Ken candidate. But he's unlikely to quit the cabinet when he's doing better than expected. Lives in a council flat in his Holborn and St Pancras constituency where he's been a MP since 1979. He was also leader of Camden council in the 1970s.

    Toby Harris

    Labour leader of Haringey Council for 10 years. Brought the 32 London boroughs together under one umbrella in April 1995 and became chair of what is now the Association of London Government. A Blair supporter, he's also the Director of the national organisation of Community Health Councils in England and Wales.

    Margaret Hodge

    Labour MP for Barking since June 1994, Margaret Hodge is currently Chair of the London Group of labour MPs and Joint chair of the Education and Employment Select Committee.

    Before entering Parliament she was a councillor in the London Borough of Islington for over 20 years and was leader of the council from 1982. She was awarded the MBE in 1978 and also held a wide range of offices ranging from Deputy Chair of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities to Chair of Circle 33 Housing Association.

    At present she is on the Board of Governors at the London School of Economics and is a member of the Chair of the Fabian Executive Committee. Her main areas of policy interest are listed as education, London, women and local government.

    Simon Hughes

    Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat, was elected to Parliament in a by-election in February 1983. With an unbroken record of parliamentary service he retained his Southwark North and Bermondsey seat with a 3,387 majority in the 1997 general election.

    Before entering parliament he was a practising barrister and notes human rights, civil liberties, youth affairs, social injustice, housing, South Africa and the environment among his special interests. He now acts as the Liberal Democrats' Health and London spokesperson.

    Glenda Jackson

    Seen by many as Number 10's favourite for the job, but currently occupied as Transport Minister for London. Glenda Jackson entered parliament after a double Oscar winning career as an actress in 1992, when she became the first Labour candidate in 26 years to win Hampstead and Highgate. She held the seat with an increased majority in 1997 and enjoys a high profile in the capital.

    Ken Livingstone

    A recent MORI poll for BBC Newsroom South East and Greater London Radio put Ken Livingstone as the politician most Londoners thought would make a good mayor.

    That support though, is not reflected by his party leadership, who remain wary of his Old Labour roots the Brent East MP wears on his sleeve.

    Livingstone was the last leader of the former Greater London Council before it was abolished by the Thatcher government in 1986.

    Has backed the government's plans for a return to strategic government for London, but has made no secret of the fact that he would like the new mayor and authority to have tax varying powers.

    David Mellor

    The former Putney MP reached cabinet level as the first Heritage Secretary better known as the Minister of Fun. He was forced to quit over scandal in his private life. After losing his seat last year he has developed his career as a BBC sports broadcaster. A big Chelsea supporter he is also Chair of the Football Task Force. He is well known and good with the media.

    Steven Norris

    A former used-car salesman who has experience of holding a key post in the capital. He was Transport Minister for London during the last Conservative government and is now director of the Road Haulage Association, where his assistant is Glenda Jackson's son. Has made no secret of his interest in being mayor of London but has not definitely declared whether he will stand for the job.

    Chris Patten

    Lost his seat as MP for Bath in 1992 while Conservative party chairman but he helped the Conservatives to victory in that year's general election.

    Patten has not said whether he would take the job, but he is the only one of the suggested contenders who's actually had experience of running a city. He was Hong Kong's last governor before the handover to China... a post that raised his profile, if not his popularity in Beijing.

    As a former Cabinet minister he also commands respect from within the party, and he has London links and is now living in Barnes and was educated just down the road in Ealing.

    Trevor Phillips

    The only black candidate to emerge so far, he did so with the reported tacit backing of the Prime Minister. Phillips was the first black president of the National Union of Students and now presents 'The London Programme' for LWT.

    The Minister Without Portfolio, Peter Mandelson, was best man at his wedding, a fact which means support for him within the party may be polarised. Has taken a key role in the all-party 'Yes' campaign, which is encouraging Londoners to vote for the government's proposals for a mayor and assembly in a referendum on May 7th.

    Chris Smith

    Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, Chris Smith, became Secretary of State for National Heritage (now Culture, Media and Sport) in May 1997, following a varied political career on the shadow benches.

    Having entered Parliament in 1983, he joined the Labour frontbench for the first time in 1987 when he became part of the Treasury team. In 1992 he was promoted to Shadow Secretary of State for Environmental Protection and after 2 years moved to National Heritage. In 1995 he became shadow Secretary of State for Social Security and the following year swapped positions with Harriet Harman becoming shadow Secretary of State for Health.

    Before entering Parliament, Chris Smith worked for a number of housing projects and still lists this issue as one of his major concerns. He also has a special interest in local government, foreign affairs, economic policy, criminal justice and civil liberties.

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