'I could stand for Mayor of London'
10th August 2013
George Galloway has revealed he is seriously considering standing to become Mayor of London and might not fight to retain his Bradford West seat in the 2015 General Election. The Respect MP said he has formed a committee of his party members and “political number crunchers” looking at whether or not he should mount a bid to become Mayor of London in 2016. He said that the possibility was being explored now that Boris Johnson is widely expected to step down in 2016, and former Mayor Ken Livingstone has retired.
Mr Galloway said: “There is a committee exploring this and it is not a decision to be made imminently. There is three years until the election and it doesn’t have to be made urgently. This decision will be made progressively. I would never have stood against Ken, but the names being mentioned aren’t that impressive in my view. They include Labour’s Eddie Izzard, Dame Tessa Jowell and Lady Oona King, who I have already beaten in the Bethnal and Bow seat.”
Asked whether his plans could affect his Bradford West seat, he said: “It could affect it, but doesn’t necessarily. There is a possibility I could return for re-election in Bradford, then decide not to go for Mayor. I never have said I would stand again in Bradford. What I have always said is nobody knows my intentions, as I don’t know them. There was always the possibility I would not stand in Bradford, but it is equally possible I will. Everyone’s position comes to an end in May 2015 and no-one has the right to automatically assume they will be re-elected anywhere.”
Mr Galloway also said he felt he had the qualities to continue the London Mayoral traditions set by Mr Johnson and Mr Livingstone but he conceded he would need to raise a £1 million campaign fund to contest the election. He said: “I think London needs an independent-minded Mayor, as it is probably the second most powerful position in the country. I would need to raise a million pounds to stand for it. There have only been two mayors, Ken and Boris, who are both independent-minded. They didn’t take orders from people and London might want to continue that tradition. I think I have the political drive and relationships with different communities that could make it quite successful. But it is all a long way off.”