Internal review launched into the London Conservatives after 'shambolic' mayoral selection process

9 August 2023, 07:25 | Updated: 9 August 2023, 11:17

Susan Hall was selected as Conservative candidate for London mayor
Susan Hall was selected as Conservative candidate for London mayor. Picture: Alamy/Getty
Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

A probe has been ordered by the Conservative Party Chairman into how the London Conservatives operate, LBC has learned.

Greg Hands has been put under pressure by Conservative MPs particularly after the selection of the Tory candidate to be London Mayor.

In total 11 candidates put their hat into the ring to take on Sadiq Khan at next year's election, but the party shortlist of three candidates - Susan Hall, Mozammel Hossain and Daniel Korski - drew criticism after the omission of the Minister for London Paul Scully. Ms Hall eventually won the nomination.

Many Conservatives questioned why Mr Scully, who has served as Minister for London for three Conservative Prime Ministers, failed to make the shortlist.

A source within the party said: "Greg Hands has been getting it in the neck for allowing this to happen, and as a reaction has commissioned a review" into how the London Conservatives operate.

Susan Hall is the Conservatives' mayoral candidate
Susan Hall is the Conservatives' mayoral candidate. Picture: Alamy

The review is to be conducted by Conservative peer Baron Udny-Lister, who was previously Boris Johnson's chief of staff in Downing Street and also served with Mr Johnson as Deputy Mayor of London.

Richard Barnes, the former Conservative Deputy Mayor of London, told LBC: "I'm amused by this. Yes there should be a review, and yes they should take it more seriously but Conservative Central HQ has never really been interested in the election of London Mayor".

Commenting on how Ms Hall will be feeling about the review, Mr Barnes, who also led the Conservatives on the London Assembly, said: "I'd be damned annoyed to be quite honest. It is totally undermining her position. Had they done the review post-election then that's totally legitimate, but to do it now - when you have a live candidate - and to basically chop them off at the knees - I think it's utterly and totally unfair. Why do it now? Why not wait a year."

Baron Udny-Lister will lead the review
Baron Udny-Lister will lead the review. Picture: Alamy

A Labour source said: "With their move to the right nationally, and focus on culture wars, the Tories have basically given up on London in recent years.

"They've thrown in the towel. It's been years since they had anything positive to say that may appeal to London's values."

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: "The party chairman has appointed Lord Lister to undertake an internal review into the structures, processes, and organisation of the Conservative Party in London.

"The purpose of this review is to build on the success of the Uxbridge & South Ruislip parliamentary by-election in July, to ensuring that the Conservative Party in London is in the best position possible to take the fight comprehensively to our opponents in next year’s crucial elections across the capital."