Speculation is increasing that Justine Greening is preparing to stand for London Mayor after the domain name justinegreening.london was registered on Sunday.
The domain was secured on June 10, HuffPost UK can reveal, just hours before an interview with Greening was published in which she claimed Sadiq Khan had “ditched almost every single promise he’s made.”
The former Education Secretary – who has represented the London seat of Putney since 2005 – has been tipped to take on Khan in the 2020 election by Tory colleague Ed Vaizey after he ruled himself out of the race earlier this month.
The exact details of who registered the justinegreening.london address have been “redacted for privacy” by internet firm GoDaddy, but it was created 9.06pm on Sunday – just three hours before Greening’s interview with CityAM was published.
Despite refusing to be drawn on whether she would stand for Mayor, Greening made several comments on what the Tory candidate would need to do to defeat Khan.
She said: “People want to see a Mayor who will roll up their sleeves, get on with the job, but also have a vision of what 21st century London is about – which for me is about social mobility and connecting young people with the undoubted opportunity that our city provides.”
Turning to Khan, who was elected in 2016, Greening said: “It’s one thing to say why you think the alternative candidate wouldn’t be very good - let’s face it, Sadiq Khan has ditched almost every single promise he’s made, and the ones he hasn’t ditched, he’s not delivering on.
She added: “He should be held to account for that, but in the end the people want to know what our alternative is: how London will be different if you vote Conservative.”
When asked if it was time for a female mayor, Greening replied: “Yes, I don’t see why not!”
Nominations for the Tory candidate for London Mayor open this month, and the party plans to unveil the challenger to Khan at their conference in October.
Having a candidate in place more than a year before the next mayoral election will allow the party to run a broader campaign than the one put forward by Zac Goldsmith in 2016, one senior Tory told HuffPost UK earlier this month.
Goldsmith was selected in the October 2015, giving him just seven months of campaigning until polling day.
“We need to have a proper narrative,” said the Tory, who was involved in Goldsmith’s campaign. “If you have someone who could point to a recored of delivering stuff, it forces people to ask what Khan’s actually delivered.”
After serving as Transport Secretary and then International Development Secretary under David Cameron, Greening was promoted to Education Secretary by Theresa May in 2016.
But after being asked to move to the Department of Work and Pensions in the January 2018 reshuffle, she quit the Cabinet.
When asked if they knew who had registered the wed domain, a member of Greening’s office staff told HuffPost UK: “It wasn’t by us.”