THE guessing game over who will stand for Labour in the Mayoral elections of 2012 goes on and on… and today’s potential candidate to add to all the others is – drum roll, cymbal crash – Diane Abbott, the Hackney MP. Andrew Gilligan is stirring the pot, saying mischevious things about how great it is for her that she’s on This Week (that wilting programme after Question Time in which random celebrities like Miquita Oliver and Paloma Faith sit on the sofa nodding nervously at Andrew Neil).
Abbott was gossiping with Ken Livingstone on the former Mayor’s LBC radio show on Saturday morning, all old muckers sharing stories about how they never took liberties with their expenses tabs and second home allowances. Pats on the back all round. It was only a couple of days later that she said in The Independent that she wouldn’t mind being Mayor, the job that Ken clearly loved and would surely jump at taking back.
Who knows if she was seriously hinting at having a pop in 2012? But her name now features on the long list, right alongside Glenda Jackson and Emily Thornberry, who have been touted in the past as outside bets for a mayoral punt should they be voted out of Parliament this year. The neverending list of suggestions that have done the rounds in recent weeks – and months – include Tessa Jowell, Oona King, David Lammy and even Lord Peter M himself. It will run on and on until Ken gets a definitive answer over whether he can go again.