By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter
On May 6, Londoners will have a record number of candidates to choose from as they head to the polls to decide the next Mayor of London.
A total of 20 candidates are standing in May’s election, but while voters may be familiar with current mayor Sadiq Khan and his challengers from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens, there are many more candidates in the running.
Joining Sadiq Khan, Shaun Bailey, Luisa Porritt and Sian Berry on the ballot are the following candidates:
Kam Balayev – Renew Party
Launched in 2018, the Renew Party is a centrist political party that was formed to “fix the broken politics in the UK”.
Its candidate in this year’s London Mayor election is Azerbaijan-born former lawyer Kam Balayev.
Mr Balayev has said he wants to be a “champion” for small businesses, while promoting a “green, healthy and sustainable city”.
His policy pledges include introducing a London supplementary income, similar to a universal basic income, and discounts for first-time home buyers in the capital.
Count Binface – Count Binface for Mayor of London
Previously known as Lord Buckethead, Count Binface is a satirical candidate who has previously run to be an MP against Boris Johnson in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
His policies for the London Mayor election include finishing Crossrail as well as renaming London Bridge after actress and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Piers Corbyn – Let London Live
Brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Piers Corbyn has come under fire for his anti-lockdown stance and denial of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to promising an end to all lockdown and social distancing restrictions, Mr Corbyn has also said he will scrap the planned ULEZ extension and convert empty commercial properties into homes.
Max Fosh – Independent
Max Fosh is a Youtuber with more than 400,000 subscribers who has said he is running to be Mayor of London “just to get more votes than Laurence Fox”.
Laurence Fox – The Reclaim Party
Like Piers Corbyn, former actor Laurence Fox has also come under fire for his vaccine scepticism and anti-lockdown views.
Mr Fox has said he will “end lockdown now and permanently” and focus on “building more homes and honouring our heritage”.
Peter Gammon – UKIP
Representing UKIP in the London Mayor election is Peter Gammons, who has been described as a faith healer.
Mr Gammons has pledged to be “tough on crime” and has said he will recruit an additional 8,000 police officers while working to “rebuild trust” between police and communities.
He has also pledged to freeze council tax and build more genuinely affordable homes by building on more than 100 derelict sites across London.
Richard Hewison – Rejoin EU
A subsidiary of the pan-European Volt Party, Rejoin EU will be fielding candidates in the London Assembly elections and will focus on the issue of restoring Britain’s membership the European Union.
The party’s leader, Richard Hewison, is standing to be Mayor of London and has said he will be “the leading advocate for rejoining the EU”.
Mr Hewison has also said he will provide support to London’s musicians and artists who wish to perform in the EU.
Vanessa Hudson – Animal Welfare Party
Leader of the Animal Welfare Party, Vanessa Hudson is standing to be Mayor of London with a promise to “help shape a London that leads the world – not only for people but for animals and the environment too”.
Ms Hudson has pledged to push for carbon net zero status to be achieved by 2025, and has said she will incentivise public transport use and push for more Government funding to improve air quality.
Steve Kelleher – Social Democratic Party
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) describes itself as “a patriotic, economically left-leaning, and culturally traditional party”.
Its candidate on May 6 is Steve Kelleher, who has said he will build 50,000 new council houses in London every year by 2024 and recruit 10,000 more police officers.
David Kurten – Heritage Party
A current member of the London Assembly, David Kurten split from UKIP in 2020 and was originally running to be Mayor of London as an independent candidate before launching the Heritage Party in October.
Mr Kurten has described himself as “socially conservative” and has said the Heritage Party will stand for “free speech and liberty, traditional family values, national sovereignty and financial responsibility”.
He has been criticised for his anti-vaccine remarks and has pledged to end the enforcement of Covid-19 rules if elected Mayor of London.
Farah London – Independent
The aptly named Farah London is a former businesswoman and insurance broker who is running to be Mayor of London as an independent candidate.
Ms London has said she will prioritise public health and wellbeing as London recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and has pledged to roll out mass rapid testing in stadiums, music venues, gyms and restaurants to “rebuild patronage and create jobs”.
She has also pledged to hire an additional 8,500 police officers over four years including 1,000 officers who will be dedicated to tackling hate crimes.
Valerie Brown – Burning Pink Party
Valerie Brown has pledged to be “the last Mayor of London” and only has one policy pledge: to replace London government with citizens assemblies that will “give power to ordinary people”.
The assemblies would be comprised of “randomly selected people” who would have “legally binding power” to make decisions about how London is run.
Nims Obunge – Independent
A former financial adviser and faith leader, Nims Obunge is running to be Mayor of London as an independent candidate.
Mr Obunge’s policy pledges include reopening 104 youth centres in a bid to prevent crime and introducing a zero emissions infrastructure across London to tackle poor air quality.
Niko Omilana – Independent
Popularised by his prank videos, Niko Omilana is a Youtuber with more than three million subscribers who has said he wants to “give young people a voice”.
Mandu Reid – Women’s Equality Party
Representing the Women’s Equality Party, Mandu Reid has said “it is time to raise the bar” and that “London is ready to become the first gender-equal city in the world”.
The party’s candidates nationally are campaigning for sex and gender equality in healthcare, equal representation in politics, business and the judiciary and for an end to violence against women.
Brian Rose – London Real Party
Former Wall Street banker and current podcast host Brian Rose has led an ambitious campaign to become Mayor of London.
Originally running as an independent, Mr Rose has said he will build 50,000 new homes by Christmas, abolish the congestion charge until next year and put 10,000 new police officers on the street.
Drillminister – Independent
The Woolwich-raised musician is one of 18 candidates – but has stood out on the campaign trail because he wears a balaclava and sunglasses to hide his face on TV.
He also changed his name by deed poll, further hiding his original identity, because he wants his words to speak directly to his audience, rather than through his personality.
His manifesto pledges include capped peak-time rail tickets for those earning less than £21,000 a year, new stations for poorly connected areas and top-up cards that allow homeless people to buy food, shelter and clothes.
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