Stephen Lawrence friend may run for mayor

Duwayne Brooks, who was with Stephen Lawrence the night he was murdered, and is now a Lewisham councillor, has announced he may stand as Lib Dem candidate for London mayor.

18-year-old Stephen Lawrence, who was black, was stabbed to death in Eltham, southeast London in 1993 while waiting at a bus stop by a group of young white men in what is believed to have been a racially-motivated attack. His killers have never been convicted. Duwayne Brooks, who was also 18 at the time, was Stephen’s friend, was with him; it was he who summoned the emergency services.

Duwayne Brooks told ITV London Tonight at his party’s annual conference in Liverpool last night: “At this moment in time I’m considering quite seriously running for London Mayor for the Liberal Democrats”. He was elected a Liberal Democrat councillor in Downham Ward, Lewisham, in 2009 and has in the past supported the mayoral campaign of Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick. Paddick made it clear he is happy to back Brooks against the only other Liberal Democrat contender announced so far, former MP Lembit Opik. He said: “I think London Liberal Democrat members will want a serious alternative to Lembit Opik and I think Duwayne provides that serious alternative”.

Lembit Opik admits he is seen as some in the party as ‘a bit of a joker’, having appeared regularly in gossip magazines when he dated TV weather presenter Sian Lloyd and then Cheeky Girl Gabriela Irimia and then pursued a career as a stand-up comedian after losing his Montgomeryshire seat in the 2010 general election, but says he has a serious left-wing, libertarian agenda and “I think I have the experience to do it”.

Labour is due to announce its candidate to take on sitting Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson, who has announced his intention to stand again, on Friday. Former mayor Ken Livingstone and former East London MP Oona King are seen as the  main contenders for the Labour nomination. The election for London mayor will take place in 2012.

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