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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 14:32 GMT
The six Tory hopefuls

Steven Norris: Try and try again

Steve Norris is back. He returns as the favourite to become the Tory mayoral candidate. But first he must face the challenges from the other hopefuls, whom he described as "squeaky clean losers".

Steve Norris

A former transport minister and MP for Epping Forest, Steve Norris remains best known for the series of affairs he pursued during his 30-year marriage to his wife, Vicky.

When he announced his intention to contest the Tory mayor candidacy, he revealed plans to marry again, to Emma Courtney, his fourth mistress with whom he has a child. The positive impact of the news was slightly muted when his wife's father pointed out the couple had not yet divorced.

During his first campaign, he promised better architecture on council estates, support for grammar schools and investment in buses and the tube. But the party faithful preferred Lord Archer.

Second time around has been no easier. After being told he would not be handed the candidacy on a plate, he overcome his initial reluctance to stand only to be thrown out by a 12-strong panel who took a dim view of his private life.

Now he is back, not to everyone's delight. Ken Livingstone has said he is the only Tory candidate he feared.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

The Tory spokeswoman on London in the House of Lords, Baroness Miller describes herself as a "Londoner at heart" and says she "never thought about running for mayor before, but now it seems like a jolly good idea".

She was made a life peer in 1993 by John Major and has since kept a low profile. Her Who's Who entry reveals that until 1988 she was chairman of Universal Beauty Club Ltd and wrote a book entitled Let's Make Up.

She voted against lowering the age of consent in the House of Lords as part of the upper house revolt leading the government to drop temporarily to abandon the change.

It has been reported Lord Harris is funding her entire campaign.

Mark Kotecha

The chairman and chief executive of online games retailer, he stood and lost in the previous Tory mayor selection, having been shortlisted.

He opened his campaign by showing his support for a 24-hour tube service. He also attacked the plan to spend 100m on a new building to house the eventual mayor of London.

"London does not need another palace," he said. "What Londoners need is more police."

Mr Kotecha, 35, a self-made millionaire, supports the party's views on Section 28, a controversial law which stops local councils from promoting homosexuality.

The businessman was a Conservative candidate in a Liverpool Labour-stronghold in the 1997 general election but polled only 2,501 votes. He is the son of a London Underground ticket clerk, and was born and brought up in the capital.

Baroness Hanham, the Kensington and Chelsea council leader, with Michael Portillo
Baroness Hanham

The second baroness in the race, she has been the leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea since 1989 and was supported into the peerage by her rival Baroness Miller.

She adamantly opposed plans for a Princess Diana memorial garden in Kensington Gardens. On the Kensington and Chelsea website she says: "It would be inconceivable that his proposal, which would have an impact on the Kensington and Chelsea residents, should be imposed on them by the will of others who have no connection with Kensington Gardens other than as a place of pilgrimage."

Her decision to stand is part of what has been dubbed the revenge of the blue-rinse brigade, who want to stand traditional values back on the Tories and are sick of the series of scandals the party has generated.

Andrew Boff

Another former hopeful who rejoined the race after Lord Archer's surprise departure. He made it to the final four last time, but trailed both the winner and Mr Norris miserably in the actual ballot.

A computer analyst and leader of Hillingdon council. His main claim to fame appears to be the fact he is the nephew of Roy "Little Legs" Smith, who worked for notorious London gangsters the Kray brothers.

His key promise to the capital's residents is to "Get London moving again" by making public transport more attractive and promise to reduce season ticket costs on London Transport.

He says he would delay privatisation of the Underground network until considerable improvements had been made and promise the London authority would employ only 50 people if he was the boss.

Paul Lynch

Allowed to re-join the shortlist at the same time as Steve Norris, he is the leader of the Conservatives on Hounslow Council and a councillor for Chiswick Riverside ward.

He works as a project planner at technical support services for the BBC. He is married with two sons and has two cocker spaniel dogs.

He argues the job of mayor should go to a local councillor and is standing on his track record in local government. He says he wants to improve transport and education, reduce crime and arrest the decline in historical heritage.

He has said the only skeleton in his cupboard was a literal one during his time as a medical student.

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See also:
26 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
London mayor: Your views
11 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Norris: Second time unlucky
11 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Tories reject Norris for mayor

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