Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Johnson V Johnson for Mayor; Ex-Minister Could Take on Boris in 2012

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Johnson V Johnson for Mayor; Ex-Minister Could Take on Boris in 2012

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor

FORMER home secretary Alan Johnson emerged as a possible challenger to Boris Johnson today as Labour decided to select its 2012 mayoral candidate by the autumn.

The party fired the starting gun for the selection process after its ruling National Executive Committee voted to have a candidate installed before the end of the year. Mr Johnson, a "born and bred" Londoner and a former postman in the capital, is being urged by friends to run for City Hall.

He is one of several big hitters from the Blair-Brown Cabinets who could step forward to take on the Mayor. Former work and pensions secretary James Purnell is also being touted as a contender, and former mayor Ken Livingstone, who was defeated in 2008, is almost certain to stand for selection.

The prize for the winner of the mayoral election is to host the 2012 Olympics in July that year -- 10 weeks after taking office in May. Labour wants to get a candidate in place this year to give them plenty of time to scrutinise and oppose the current City Hall regime.

After deciding to opt out of the Labour leadership race and back David Miliband, Mr Johnson said it was time for the "next generation" of politicians to take up the fight against the Conservatives nationally.

Brought up by his teenage sister after his mother died, Mr Johnson lived in poverty in Notting Hill before going on to lead the postal workers' union and being elected to Parliament. He also served as health secretary and work and pensions secretary.

Boris Johnson has yet to commit himself to running for a second term and some senior Tories believe he may try to get back into the Commons and line himself up as a successor to David Cameron. …

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