Before Rory Stewart’s abrupt abandonment of his Penrith and the Border constituency in favour of the bright lights of the capital, Sadiq Khan appeared to be cruising towards victory in the 2020 mayoral election. He probably still is – but the outcome of the race looks considerably more uncertain. James Morris, the managing director of the consultancy Edelman and a former pollster to Ed Miliband, said: “Sadiq was overwhelming favourite yesterday, and he still is today, but it does shake it up.” Party loyalties are increasingly weak, said Morris, and voters tend to see a city mayoralty as the kind of job they are willing to hand over to a high-profile maverick (Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone). “There is a path where someone who is new, and not seen as partisan, and is a bit more fresh, could cut through,” he said. Stewart’s quirky campaign for the Conservative leadership won him acres of publicity and a throng of enthusiastic supporters – though not nearly enough of them were the Tory MPs whose votes he needed. In his favour is the fact that the Conservative candidate for London mayor, Shaun Bailey, has so far made little impact on the public’s consciousness. Stewart… Read full this story
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