The Liberal Democrats have announced a shortlist of three names to go forward to a members’ ballot to decide their candidate for London Mayor.
Liberal Democrat members in London will vote on the candidates next month, with the successful Mayoral candidate being announced in early November.
There are three candidates on the shortlist. Chamali Fernando, barrister from Finchley, is running for the party’s nomination against Fiyaz Mughal, a Haringey councillor, and Brian Paddick.
Mr Paddick was the UK’s most senior out gay policeman until his retirement as Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in May this year.
He came to public prominence as borough commander of Lambeth, when his policy of targeting resources at class A drug dealers and taking a more relaxed approach to cannabis use caused right-wing outrage.
The policy was popular with locals, and his direct style of policing helped to foster a trust and respect with many who viewed the police with suspicion.
Liberal Democrat Chair of Campaigns, Edward Davey MP said:
“This is an excellent shortlist of high calibre candidates that will both give London Liberal Democrat members a real choice and the people of the capital a great Mayor.”
Mr Paddick is currently a Visiting Fellow of Ashridge Business School.
“If elected Mayor, Brian Paddick will introduce a series of radical and innovative policies that will help all Londoners to feel part of, and to be proud of, their capital city,” says the Liberal Democrat website.
In the past two years Mr Paddick clashed with his boss, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, over when the Met knew that they had shot an innocent man at Stockwell tube station on July 22nd 2005.
Sir Ian insists that he did not know Brazilian Jean Charles De Menezes was not a suicide bomber until the next day. Mr Paddick gave evidence to an independent investigation that suspicions were raised almost immediately.
It is reported that Mr Paddick is going to write a book about his colourful and controversial career at the Met.
The next London mayoral election is scheduled for 1st May 2008.
The Labour candidate will be incumbent Mayor Ken Livingstone, hoping to win a third four-year term of office.
The Conservative party has decided to let all registered London voters have a say in their choice of candidate.
Former frontbench MP Boris Johnson is up against Andrew Boff, Warwick Lightfoot and Victoria Borwick for the party nomination.
The winner will be chosen by phone and postal votes and announced during Tory party conference at the start of October.