Today (4pm) is the deadline for names to go forward for the general election on December 12, but the key players have already declared their intention to stand in our five west London constituencies. Here are the candidates for Cities of London and Westminster, and Hammersmith.
Whichever way the vote goes in the Cities of London and Westminster constituency, there will be a new MP, writes Julia Gregory.
This follows the move by Conservative Mark Field to stand down last month, blaming the “fractious atmosphere” over Brexit.
There were candidates with their hats in the ring at the start of the week, but with Nigel Farage
declaring on Monday that no Brexit Party candidate would stand in a Tory seat, Georgina Thorburn is expected to be withdrawn from the race.
The Foreign Office minister was suspended by the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, earlier this year after he was filmed manhandling an environmental protester at a Mansion House event.
Boris Johnson dropped an investigation into the event but sacked him from his ministerial role.
Mr Field had a majority of 3,148 in 2017 when he held the seat for the Conservatives.
The constituency was formed in 1950 and is bordered in the south by the River Thames.
It includes Buckingham Palace – although the monarch is excluded from voting – along with Hyde Park and is edged by Kensington Gardens in the west.
There are around 8,000 residents in the Square Mile of the City of London, which brings more than half a million commuters to work there daily, mainly in banks and other financial institutions.
It also includes the UK’s highest number of homeless people – as Westminster attracts people partly due to the number of transport hubs, such as Victoria’s stations, and tourism.
Nickie Aiken, Conservative Party
The leader of Westminster City Council, Nickie Aiken is no stranger to national politics, even if she has only just been selected as party candidate this week.
She is a former press secretary to former Conservative Party leader William Hague and has seen at first hand the frenetic atmosphere in the Houses of Parliament and at high level meetings.
She has lived in the Warwick ward of Westminster for 20 years and became leader of the Westminster City Council in 2017. She has strong interests in education, community protection and licensing, according to her profile on the Westminster Conservatives website.
Dirk Van Heck, the Liberal Party
Property dispute barrister Dirk van Heck is running for the Liberal Party. He is one of 20 candidates it is fielding and the party, which was founded in the 19th century, said “he has several years professional experience in public policy”.
He said his aims included campaigning “for increased funding for the London courts.
In particular, the County Court in Central London, one of the greatest workhorses of the entire civil court system of England and Wales, which is within the two cities. It is chronically understaffed, operating at less than 60 per cent of its full staffing level.”
He will also support investment in Crossrail 2, to help provide 200,000 more homes in commuting distance of the capital, and wants a public inquiry into the money spent on the scrapped Garden Bridge “fiasco”.
Zack Polanski, Green Party
This will be the third general election Zack Polanski has fought – he stood in Marylebone ward in last year’s council elections in Westminster and in the Lancaster Gate by-election.
He is an actor and also works in training people to improve their mental health through better communication. He said homelessness was a big issue in the constituency. “It is getting worse and there are empty rooms and so much empty property in this constituency.”
Climate change and air quality are two other big issues and he would like to see public monitors so
people can see the state of pollution for themselves.
The Greens are also campaigning for a People’s Vote on Brexit.
Chuka Umunna, Lib Dems
Streatham-born Chuka Umunna worked in employment law in the City and Westminster for a decade.
He became a Labour MP in 2010 and increased his majority to 53 per cent in 2015 and again to 68.5 per cent in 2017.
He was shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills. One of Labour’s rising stars, he left the party in March 2019.
He was one of 11 MPs who formed The Independent Group before joining the Liberal Democrats.
Jenn Selby, Women’s Equality Party
The freelance journalist said she was campaigning to end violence and harassment throughout the UK.
She said: “My main aim for the constituency – and for every constituency in the UK – is to secure properly funded refuge and rape crisis services for survivors of male violence, and ensure they get to elect an MP committed to ending violence and harassment in Westminster and beyond.”
Gordon Nardell, Labour Party
Former Southwark councillor and silk Gordon Nardell was selected by a panel last month.
Mr Nardell helped set up the Labour Party’s in-house legal services and response to the anti-Semitism allegations.
He said issues of inequality were evident in the constituency, “with thousands of families facing the problems of low incomes and expensive housing”.