The former mayor of Islington has sensationally joined the Conservatives. Rakhia Ismail quit Labour in September, citing 'discriminatory behaviour', and subsequently lashed out at the Islington leadership, the national leadership and Sadiq Khan. The knife crime campaigner, who had been an independent since leaving Labour, now becomes the first Conservative councillor in Islington since 1998.
Ismail discusses her decision to join the Tories in a video posted online by Shaun Bailey, Tory candidate for London mayor. Ismail met Shaun last month during a protest outside City Hall. Sadiq Khan refused to engage with her and her fellow knife crime campaigners, but Bailey did, and now that encounter appears to have paid off.
While this is an impressive coup for Shaun Bailey's campaign, the latest opinion poll for the mayoral election suggests he still has a huge mountain to climb. Despite everything Sadiq Khan actually increased his poll lead last month, up two points to a whopping 50 per cent. Meanwhile, Bailey was stuck on 28 per cent and heading for a humiliating first round defeat (if Khan gets 50 per cent he wins outright with no need for second preference votes).
Will the support of a Somali-born Muslim encourage multi-cultural London to back Bailey?