Zac Goldsmith’s London bid signals storms ahead for the Tories

Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith has sucked much of the oxygen out of the race for Mayor of London since announcing he will run for the Conservative nomination, with the multi-millionaire just 7/4 to keep City Hall in blue next May.

Goldsmith’s status as market leader is somewhat false, as the 40-year-old is seen as a lock to secure his party’s backing at 1/8, with the Tories’ most senior MEP Syed Kamall next in the candidacy betting at 6/1, while Labour are yet to see a runner breakaway from the pack.

Former Government Ministers Tessa Jowell and Sadiq Khan are currently just behind Goldsmith at 5/2 and 3/1 for next Mayor, and whoever comes through selection looks certain to be installed outright favourite after Labour increased their General Election vote share in the capital in May, having already held the most seats in London.

Goldsmith’s status as a high-profile candidate running largely on an environmentalist platform, therefore ‘not your average Tory’, will definitely help David Cameron’s crowd appeal to a similar demographic that backed Boris Johnson, but the Prime Minister may have been happier ceding the capital rather than see his fellow Old Etonian run.

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Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission is due to report back on potential new runways at Heathrow and/or Gatwick, with the former’s expansion bitterly opposed by Johnson, Goldsmith, at least half the Labour nominees and Cabinet Ministers such as former Transport Secretary Justine Greening.

As Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell stated on BBC’s ‘Sunday Politics’, ruling out Heathrow expansion was a Conservative manifesto pledge in 2010, meaning the promise was only good for the five-year parliament just finished.

Going for a third runway at the west London hub would open up a schism in the Tory party comparable to the split Cameron faces over an EU referendum, and Goldsmith threatened to resign as an MP and re-stand as an independent on this issue in the past, so even if his party holds onto the Mayoralty, it may only be temporary.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.