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Smooth operator

Oona-KingDave Hill’s London Blog looks set to get the hares running over Labour’s candidate to fight Boris Johnson in 2012.

Dave has put £10 on Lord Peter Mandelson at 66/1. The Business Secretary has been dubbed the “Prince of Darkness”, so I guess he would be the original NightMayor!

But seriously, Channel 4’s diversity guru Oona King may be a much better bet at 50/1 with William Hill.

King was first tipped two years ago by the New Nation as a possible runner. Friends of King have been urging her to throw her hat into the ring, but it remains to be seen whether she does so.

Having been ousted from her Bethnal Green seat in 2005, the former Labour MP might think twice about leaving the glamorous world of TV for the cut and thrust of politics again.

But in her favour she is charasmatic, has name and face recognition, is very bright and – more importantly for a possible London mayor – would not be slavishly loyal to her party. And a passing resemblence to 80s jazz smoothy Sade would not harm her prospects either.

Looking at the bookmakers list of possible mayoral candidates, there are some interesting names, to say the least.

They include Trevor Phillips and David Lammy (both 25/1), Diane Abbott (50/1), Chris Eubank, Konnie Huq and Kelly Holmes (all 200/1), and Daley Thompson (500/1).

The prospect of Lammy running for mayor was floated on this blog in August, and despite publicly ruling himself out of the race, we understand that friends of the Tottenham MP and universities minister were not unhappy at the speculation.

Let’s not assume that Boris Johnson will automatically run as Conservative candidate again in 2012, as it is often said that the prize he really coverts is that of Tory leader and Prime Minister!

As double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes spoke at the Tory conference in Manchester, perhaps she could wear the blue rosette!

Whoever the Labour candidate is, we cannot also discount the chances of the Lib Dems, even though past performances by Susan Kramer and Brian Paddick have been slightly underwhelming.

Ultimately they will be looking for someone who can harvest a larger share of second preference votes, and anyone who can do this will come considerably closer in the final result.

By Lester Holloway

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