ALLIES of Shaun Bailey have dismissed murmurs about some Tory insiders machinating to replace him with a stronger candidate – like Sajid Javid – for London’s mayoral election.
The former youth leader, who emerged as one of the Conservative Party’s prominent black voices, had been picked to take on incumbent mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Bailey, who had lost parliamentary elections in 2010 and 2017, has been far behind Khan in the polls.
Some recent reports had said Bailey, 49, had “lost the support of senior party officials and donors”, who wanted Javid to replace him.
“It’s no secret that Shaun is not your typical Tory candidate and that a very small number of people around the party would have preferred someone more traditional,” said a spokesman for Bailey’s campaign.
“But nobody in the Conservative Party is stupid enough to try to drop Shaun just when he has been landing blows on Sadiq Khan over his failures over TfL and public safety, and when our capital has an opportunity to elect its first black Mayor at a time when bringing people together has never been more important.”
A Financial Times report also said that several Conservative donors told party’s joint chairman, Ben Elliot, they wanted Bailey replaced.
A Conservative spokesman, however, said: “The party, including its chairmen, have clearly stated full support for Shaun. He is the only candidate that can defeat Sadiq Khan next year and fix the current mayor’s litany of failures for Londoners.”
There was speculation that some “senior figures” had discussed the Javid about replacing Mr Bailey.
The former chancellor’s spokesman said there had been “no such approach”, adding that Bailey was “a fantastic candidate… everyone should be putting their support behind him”.
Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi trashed talk of plans to replace Bailey as “rubbish story”.
“Sajid Javid is staying in Parliament and Sajid has a great contribution to make to Parliament and Shaun Bailey is our phenomenal candidate, a phenomenal campaigner and someone who understands that black lives really do matter,” he said.
“And is actually focusing on what is material which is equality of opportunity for all Londoners – that is what Shaun stands for.”