Syed Kamall has been backed in from 100/1 into 33/1 to be the next Mayor of London. It’s not at all clear who the Tories might pick as their candidate, but Kamall looks like a perfectly plausible candidate, being an MEP for the London region; he is 10/1 to be the Conservative candidate.
London is essentially a Labour city at the moment, with Labour coming out on top in the 2010 general election, 2014 European elections and currently about 10 percent ahead of the Tories in polling for May’s general election. In most years, it would take a pretty special Conservative to beat any competent Labour alternative for the Mayoralty. Other than Seb Coe, who says he’s not interested, it’s hard to spot any other possibles with the star power to keep City Hall in Conservative hands.
I don’t suppose very many Londoners have the slightest idea who Kamall is at the moment, so there’s a lot of work to be done there. I would imagine the best chance for any Tory in 2016 would be against the background of a weak and unpopular Labour government. It’s also possible that we might get a mayoral by-election sometime earlier, if Boris decides not to serve out his term for whatever reason. It’s not impossible that he’ll become Tory leader in the meantime, in which case Londoners may be voting this autumn.