The Liberal Democrats have abandoned their quest for a London mayoral candidate and will invite fresh applicants in a year’s time.
A selection had been due this autumn after which the party hoped it could get its candidate well enough known to take on incumbent Boris Johnson (Con) and Labour’s Ken Livingstone in May 2012.
But regional chair Jonathan Fryer said the process had been halted because an insufficient number of approved applicants were available to put before party members.
“There will be a reopening of nominations in about a year’s time,” he said.
“Obviously that means we will be fighting a different kind of campaign over just over six months.”
Mr Fryer said the party would go ahead this autumn with choosing a list of candidates for the London Assembly.
“We will be focusing on the GLA list and I am delighted with the both the quality and diversity of the candidates we have for that.”
London party members will vote this autumn to determine the order in which these candidates are ranked.
The applicants for mayor are understood to have been former Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik, Lewisham LBC councillor Duwayne Brooks, former Richmond-upon-Thames LBC councillor Shas Sheehan, former Tower Hamlets LBC councillor Patrick Streeter and Jeremy Ambache, a regional party executive member.
Mr Streeter took legal action over the time allowed to appeal after he failed a stage of the selection process.
He said he gained a verbal undertaking that the party would allow him 30 days to appeal, but a party spokesman said Mr Streeter had misunderstood the two-stage process to which the party would adhere.