When I read that Lembit Opik wants to run for London Mayor, if he gets the okay from his party leaders, my jaw dropped. If he wants to write off the Lib Dems as a serious party for good, Nick Clegg will give his blessing. I should say Lembit’s chances of winning are slim, to none.
Lembit has the reputation for backing lost causes, and I couldn’t remember one serious thing about him. His notoriety is mainly because of his love life. His conquests include a weather girl, Sian Lloyd, and a Cheeky Girl . When he split up with Sian, she described him as “a barfly”.
In successive Liberal Democrat leadership contests, Öpik gained a reputation for backing campaigns that soon collapse, leading some to talk of the “curse of Lembit” making his backing undesirable. In 1999, he was one of only two of the party’s 46 MPs to back the abortive leadership campaign of Don Foster. Foster abandoned his campaign before nominations even closed, and backed Charles Kennedy, the eventual winner, instead.
During the 2006 leadership crisis, Öpik was initially a strong supporter of Kennedy, who then stood down. Öpik subsequently became campaign manager for Mark Oaten. However, Oaten quickly withdrew from the contest, having failed to attract enough support from within the parliamentary party; his only backers were Öpik and Baroness Ludford. In 2007, Lembit was considering running for the Mayoralty then, but backed down. (report here). He lost his Welsh seat to the Tory Glyn Davies at the last election, with a 13.2% swing to the Tories.
Nothing could be more of a lost cause for Lembit that to run for Mayor of London. He is working as a stand-up comedian at the moment, and I hope his jokes are funnier than this suggestion.
UPDATE: Lembit’s career as a comedian didn’t work out.