Tory London Mayoral race thrown into more turmoil as ex-frontrunner urges immediate U-turn


London mayoral hopeful Samuel Kasumu - whose candidacy was blocked by the party earlier this year - has urged Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands to restart the entire process.

Despite being the bookmaker’s favourite to win the nomination, and despite being the first candidate to reach 100 nominations, including that of former ERG chairman Steve Baker MP, Mr Kasumu’s hopes were dashed when he was not added to the provisional longlist for interviews by the Conservative London Board.

The race for the right to challenge Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan was thrown into turmoil when Daniel Korski confirmed he was pulling out of the contest after television producer Daisy Goodwin accused him of groping her a decade ago.

The Tories subsequently confirmed the race would go ahead with the two remaining candidates, Mozammel Hossain and Susan Hall, with hustings taking place as scheduled from June 12 to July 3.

However, in a statement released this evening, Mr Kasumu said: “Unfortunately, the selection process risks being permanently tainted.

“The London Board were allowed to decide who should be put forward to Party members without any real transparency or mechanisms for accountability.

“There was no higher body to stress test the quality of the decision-making process. No mechanism for appeal. In any other working environment that would not be acceptable.

“There should of course be a future opportunity to learn lessons, part of wider democratic reform.”

In a direct appeal to Chelsea and Fulham MP Mr Hands, he continued: “On the question of what happens next with the mayoral candidate selection - there is still time for a positive outcome.

“The selection process could be reopened, with more direct involvement from members.”

A candidate needed to be in place by autumn’s party conference, Mr Kasumu stressed.

He added: “We have time to select the best candidate with a mandate and the widespread support of our members.

“Chairman, it’s not too late. I urge you to restart the selection process.

“Sadiq Khan can be defeated, but only if we have the right person taking him on.

“The Conservative Party cannot be seen to be giving up on London.”

Choosing not to interview him “sent the worst possible message about who we are as a party today”, Mr Kasumu claimed.

He continued: “To everyone that shares my background and to every young person who is looking for a voice in the public realm, the signal my experience has sent is that we simply do not care.

“That politics trumps any semblance of fairness and humanity. That if you speak up too loudly about what matters you will be silenced.

“I hope that is something that will be reflected on internally.”

Explaining his decision to pull out yesterday, Mr Korski said: "I have decided, with a heavy heart, to withdraw from the Conservative mayoral contest.

"I categorically deny the allegation against me. Nothing was ever put to me formally 10 years ago. Nor seven years ago when the allegation was alluded to. No investigation has ever taken place. I have been clear I would welcome and constructively participate in any investigation.

"However, the pressure on my family because of this false and unproven allegation and the inability to get a hearing for my message of The London Dream makes it impossible for my campaign to carry on.

"The news agenda is becoming a distraction from the race and the Conservative Party."

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