Duwayne Brooks pulls out of London mayoral selection

ITV News reports that Duwayne Brooks “has pulled out of the race to be London’s next mayor”. The report continues:

Brooks, a former Lewisham councillor, was named today as one of two Lib Dems on the party’s shortlist along with London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon.

But the Liberal Democrats then revealed he was no longer taking part in the contest because of his role in a review of stop and search by police in Northamptonshire.

“Unfortunately Duwayne Brooks has since withdrawn from the Mayoral selection owing to a new professional commitment with a Police Authority which prevents him from going forward.”
– Liberal Democrat statement

Brooks told ITV News his new commitment meant he was unable to take part in the mayoral hustings.

“I would love to have been involved, I would have loved to have been selected by the party because it would have changed the dynamic of the debate. I’m probably going to be up here for six to eight weeks. I’m not going to make all the debates so I’m pulling out.”
– Duwayne Brooks

The decision means Caroline Pidgeon is on a ‘shortlist’ of one and almost guaranteed to win her party’s nomination next month.

“It is a shame Duwayne Brooks has had to withdraw from the Mayoral selection contest but I wish him well in his new role reviewing the use of Stop and Search Powers by Northamptonshire Police. This will be the first big Lib Dem Fightback campaign so there’s no limiting what we can achieve.”
– Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat

You can read the full report here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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33 Comments

  • Clearly, this is just silly, the shortlist must be re-opened to include some or all of the other 4 applicants. I must admit that I dont see why we needed a shortlist in the 1st place, thats the sort of closed politics that we should leave to The Tories & Labour. If neccesary we could delay the vote by a week or 2.

  • I don’t think Duwayne had much option but to withdraw from the contest given his new role. I’m sure we all wish him success in that.
    Two does seem a small shortlist if there were indeed 4 applicants, I agree with Paul and Andy this should be looked that, though knowing how inflexible the party’s rules are for Mayoral selections, I very much doubt that common sense could be allowed to preavil! Expect a Caroline vs ‘RON’ contest……

  • John Tilley 20th Aug '15 - 7:20am

    Elections are like buses, you miss one – you wait for the next one to come along.

    Assuming Caroline Pidgeon is elected as Mayor of London and is re-elected a few times it is not impossible that our next candidate will be Duwayne Brooks — he will still be young enough.

  • Graham Evans 20th Aug '15 - 8:33am

    We are again heading for electoral humiliation in London. Someone (Tim Farron?) needs to start knocking heads together regarding the London Party! No one realistically expected London to elect a LD Mayor but a a strong,,charismatic mayoral candidate leading the election campaign might have boosted our representation on the GLA.

  • Peter Davies 20th Aug '15 - 9:05am

    It’s probably unconstitutional to proceed with a short-list of one.
    11.5 (f) except where a special reselection process is permitted for a sitting MP or the previous candidate, all short-lists must include a specified minimum number of candidates;

  • This is awful and very undemocratic. The party must suspend the process and start again. I still can’t understand why only 2 were shortlisted in the first place.

  • Ruth Bright 20th Aug '15 - 9:51am

    Oh dear time for everyone to get their constitutional knickers in a twist – how many times has an election gone ahead with a single male candidate? Plenty I would imagine.

  • Chris Lewcock 20th Aug '15 - 9:51am

    Foot and shooting in …

  • With Suzanne Evans as a candidate UKIP could put up a strong showing and easily push the LibDems back into 5th place. Getting the choice of candidate right is vital, with no Boris or Ken in the race and tuition fee Clegg out of the way you have a chance to make some serious headway. I don’t know much about Caroline Pidgeon – I doubt many do – but you need to be sure she will come across well in the media. If there are doubts try and persuade someone like Lynn Featherstone to stand. She’s smart, comes across well on TV and would thrive with all the attention.

  • Patrick Murray 20th Aug '15 - 10:16am

    I am astonished by this. So we can’t put the mayoral selection on hold for a few weeks so that one of the only two candidates put forwards can do a particular time-limited role? Ridiculous.

    By the way I doubt very much that the timing of this appointment is an accident – the Tory police commissioner who is in charge of this is a well-connected politician with an interesting track record… https://www.libdemvoice.org/the-ludicrous-story-of-northamptonshires-new-police-and-crime-commissioner-32298.html

    To be clear I’m not criticising Duwayne for taking up the role, of course he would want to do this, but knowing Simmonds as I do I believe strongly that it is not a reach to say that taking a potential high profile opposition mayoral candidate out of the running was not an insignificant consideration in the timing of this appointment.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Aug '15 - 10:49am

    Fantasy i know, but imagine that you are in London today and your team is leading by three matches to one with one to play. What do you do now? Rest? Cruise? Think about next year? Keep winning?

  • Richard Underhill 20th Aug '15 - 10:54am

    Fantasy i know, but look at the news. Your favourite has moved up to number two in the world, higher than both people he described as the best players who have ever lived. He is about the same age as the number one, but has beaten him most recently. It happened in Canada. Could it happen in USA? It already has once. He also wears an Olympic Gold medallion and a wedding ring.

  • Very bad news but probably the right decision by Duwayne.

    The party must now suspend our nomination process and come up with a fast track option for a contested election. One name on the ballot is undemocratic and unacceptable.

  • Exactly right Ian. I don’t think the electorate would take kindly to a retread candidate from the General Election.

    Anyone who has watched Caroline at Mayor’s Question Time knows we have nothing to worry about.

  • John Tilley 20th Aug '15 - 2:35pm

    Ruth Bright 20th Aug ’15 – 9:51am
    You are right to make your point , Ruth.

    But I would say that some of us have our constitutional knickers starched and ironed and neatly folded in the drawer.
    They are not in a twist.

    Having Caroline Pidgeon as candidate seems eminently sensible to me, not just because she is the best person for the jobs, the most experienced person for the job (unlike some of our previous candidates for London Mayor) and she has demonstrated an ability to put the Lberal Democrat case (an ability sadly lacking in some at the top of our party in recent years).

    People in this thread who seem to think that internal party democracy cannot survive without a meaningless vote in a selecton process are fooling themselves. The election for London Mayor has not exactly crept up on us and appeared in the diary by surprise. if there had been a fantastically rich, charismatic superstar of stage and screen desperate to fly the flag for liberal democrats in next year’s mayoral election we would have noticed by now.

    I am much happier to have Caroine Pidgeon who has more than a superficial and passing interest in London and in democracy than the billionaire dilettantes trying to be the Conservative candidate.

    I am guessing you and I agree on that. 🙂

  • Ruth Bright 20th Aug '15 - 3:17pm

    John anyone who has seen the state of my home knows that the words: fold, starch and iron are foreign to me, please define your terms! xx

  • Caroline is as good a mayoral candidate as we could hope for in our current political circumstances; she has carried the Assembly brief with fortitude and enthusiasm, isn’t afraid to take Boris on, comes across well in the media, is already well respected outside the party and has good working relationships with councillors and activists across London.

    I don’t think Caroline has anything at all to fear from an open contest; however there seems to be an unanswered question as to how and why someone in the party decided to screen out other candidates?

  • John Tilley 20th Aug '15 - 3:40pm

    Ruth,
    I do appreciate the improvement that ironing makes to a shirt ( in terms of comfort for the wearer and maintaining the fabric – I am less bothered about the outward appearance).
    In the context on constitutional knickers – I guess the same applies.

  • Graham Evans 20th Aug '15 - 9:33pm

    Might I suggest that all those who are so keen on Caroline Pidgeon take a random walk down any high street in London and ask people who Caroline Pidgeon is. I should be surprised if more than one person in a hundred recognises her name. Like it or not, the London mayoral and GLA election is about name recognition and charisma. Party and policies play second place. This is why Ken Livingston, standing as an independent, one the first Mayoral election, and why Labour had to let him back into the Party so they were not humiliated in the second election. It was for the same reason that Boris won when he first stood, and why he was so easily re-elected. Only political geeks now remember the Tory candidate whom Ken defeated, even though like Boris he had been an MP for a Home Counties constituency close to London. Boris had name recognition and charisma. Steve Norris did not. I shall be astonished if Zac Goldsmith doesn’t win the Tory nomination, even though his rivals actually have better CVs, simply because he’s got name recognition in a way the others have not. Even the two Labour frontrunners, Sadiq Khan and Jessa Jowell can probably lay claim to be moderately well known, and whoever wins will have the benefit of a reasonably good Labour organisation across London to promote their name further. Moreover, as malc has indicated, even Suzanne Evans of UKIP is a stronger candidate than Caroline Pidgeon. If the best person that the LDs can put forward is Caroline, then fifth place seems an increasingly likely outcome.

  • Steve Comer 21st Aug '15 - 1:25am

    Graham: Reality check needed here!
    No Liberal Democrat is going to be Mayor of London, we have only polled over 10% twice – over a decade ago. Our best result was 15.3% (in 2004).
    What Liberal Democrats need from a Mayoral candidate are two things. Firstly, the ability to put the party’s case well in public hustings events and in the media. Secondly, someone who can motivate our members (especially the newer ones) to get out and campaign so we return as many GLA members as possible, and rebuild the party for the Borough elections in 2018.

    Caroline Pidgeon is well placed to do both of these, a ‘celebrity’ candidate running for Mayor to massage their own ego will achieve neither.

  • Graham Evans 21st Aug '15 - 7:53am

    @Steve Comer The London mayoral GLA election is more akin to a US presidential election than US mid term election. Our vote for the Assembly will be directly related to our vote in the mayoral election,so we need a candidate who will inspire ordinary voters. The evidence from the last mayoral election suggests that wards with a relatively strong LD voting traditional did little better than wards with little or no LD voting record. So traditional campaigning will not work. What we need is something different, but Caroline seems to offer nothing new.

  • Ruth Bright 21st Aug '15 - 8:26am

    Graham – I would happily take up your challenge of doing a vox pop in London and seeing if people have heard of her. Goldsmith has appeal in posh, white, outer London. Caroline has a proven record as an inner-city councillor, campaigner and cabinet member in the context of a confrontational hung council. Years after she stopped being a councillor people still mention her on the doorstep in Southwark.

    What is sad here is that everyone seems to think we need to stand a ready made celeb. Let’s make a new celeb!

  • Phil Wainewright 21st Aug '15 - 9:24am

    Caroline is far better qualified to become Mayor of London than any of the other contenders from other parties and we should get on with supporting her campaign so that she can build the name recognition that she deserves.

  • Matthew Huntbach 21st Aug '15 - 9:42am

    Graham Evans

    Might I suggest that all those who are so keen on Caroline Pidgeon take a random walk down any high street in London and ask people who Caroline Pidgeon is. I should be surprised if more than one person in a hundred recognises her name.

    And that should be our USP: we aren’t going down the road of putting up someone on the basis of their celebrity image. No, we’re putting up someone on the basis that they’re actually the best for the job, have the skills and experience it requires. The real job of Mayor of London is quite a technical one, mainly oriented around an oversight of London Transport. Boris Johnson has quite obviously made a mess of it because he got there more for his gift of the gab (and willingness of the Tory press to report his gabbiness positively) than for any of the real skills the job really needs.

    Consider, if you’d asked anyone a few weeks ago who Jeremy Corbyn is, you would have go blank looks from most. And now? People are getting fed up with the conventional polished-image politics that has grown up in recent decades and are looking around for something different. Someone who’s not a pushy celeb type now comes across as sincere and different, and that’s working for Corbyn.

    Whether or not it would work for Caroline Pidgeon, I think we’ve got nothing to lose trying it.

    I’m strongly opposed to the very idea of executive mayors on liberal grounds, but the way it potential candidates for the London mayoralty get discussed also shows up why it is so wrong on practical grounds. It becomes a personality contest, and that is NOT how to get the best person to do the actual job.

  • Richard Underhill 21st Aug '15 - 12:13pm

    Graham Evans 20th Aug ’15 – 9:33pm “one” should be spelt “won”

  • Richard Underhill 21st Aug '15 - 12:21pm

    ” Boris had name recognition and charisma. Steve Norris did not.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Norris
    “Norris married his first wife, Vicky, in 1969, and has two sons from that marriage. He has another son with his second wife, Emma, whom he married in April 2000. … During the 1990s, it was widely reported that he had had a series of extramarital affairs. He survived as a minister because of his relative popularity with journalists and because he made it clear he was not apologising for his personal life.”

  • Paul Reynolds 21st Aug '15 - 1:27pm

    An interesting debate. My thought is that LD members should take care not to blame Caroline for the tricky situation we find ourselves in over the Mayoral and GLA elections… being squeezed by the ‘Zach versus Tessa, versus Greens & UKIP’ media hype; the low LD polling on May 7th and loss of London MPs; and being in the midst of a transition to a new party leadership, among many other challenges. Neither should we blame Caroline for her being the only candidate in the LD selection process. On the assumption that Caroline will be our mayoral candidate we must support the team and on with the job of increasing the number of members on the London Assembly.

  • paul barker 21st Aug '15 - 2:25pm

    There are a number of different issues here. The reason for opposing an election where only one candidate is being allowed to stand is simple democracy – its in our name. Either announce Caroline elected unopposed, re-open the contest with all the candidates included or delay the election. Theres a rational case for any of those 3 options , there is no case for pretending to have an election. Elections with one candidate arent real elections.
    On Libdem prospects, my argument is that the first barrier we have to get over is invisibility. A candidate like Duwayne would increase our very slim chances of being noticed at all.

  • Graham Evans 21st Aug '15 - 4:13pm

    @Matthew Huntbach The real powers of the London Mayor are actually pretty limited, even in regard to TfL. For instance, despite his huffing and puffing, Boris Johnson has been incapable of addressing the stranglehold which the union have over the tube network. Operational responsibility for TfL is in the hands of experienced professionals, as is the Fire Service and Police. The mayor has some influence in the appointment of the senior managers, but as the water canon policy shows, when it comes to the crunch, real power still remains with Whitehall, as it does for all the major infrastructure projects in the Capital. What the Mayor does have, in the jargon, is charismatic power, but to exercise such power you need charisma. Like him or hate him, this is what Boris has, and (judging from the size of his majority in Richmond) so does Zack Goldsmith.
    @Ruth Bright Richmond may indeed be a posh outer London borough, but I think you will find that the average house price in Camden is considerably higher than in most outer London boroughs. I live in Redbridge, which is actually one on the most racially diverse in London, and now has two Labour MPs, but I doubt you will find one person in a thousand here who has heard of Caroline Pidgeon.
    Perhaps I should stress that I have nothing per se against Caroline Pidgeon. My concern is that conventional campaigning in a London wide election will not work, particularly given the weakness of our organisation throughout most of the Capital. I do not have an answer, but like Paul Barker I believe we need to take a risk and do some fundamentally different if we are to attract the attention of the electorate.

  • Graham Evans 21st Aug '15 - 5:06pm

    @ Graham Evans
    Sorry, of course I meant Southwark, not Camden, though in fact average house prices are higher in inner London boroughs than most outer London boroughs.

  • paul barker 22nd Aug '15 - 3:20pm

    I have had an email back from Mike Tuffrey & the ballot on whether to choose Caroline Pidgeon or Caroline Pidgeon is to go ahead. I just hope we dont get a really negative reaction from some members, very few of who will have heard about this. I worry it could blow up in our faces.
    I will still be arguing for us to put Duwayne Brooks top of the Assembly list.

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