A hard day's think for mayoral losers

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Indy Politics

Steven Norris and Susan Kramer were last night contemplating their political futures as they sought to draw comfort from defeat to Ken Livingstone.

For newly wed Mr Norris there was much to be happy with from his strong showing in second place. Merchant banker Ms Kramer, meanwhile, hailed the establishment of a strong platform from which the Liberal Democrats could strike in 2004.

But it was the magnanimous calls from Ken Livingstone to join his administration which was doubtless providing both defeated candidates with the most food for thought.

Ms Kramer, who can now hang up the yellow Dr Marten boots she has used for treading the capital's pavement for five months, was non-committal about political co-habitation with Mr Livingstone. After admitting defeat at 2am yesterday, she said: "I don't think there has been a serious job offer but I think there would be fundamental difficulties. Stylistically, we are very different."

Many feel Ms Kramer, a mother-of-two from Barnes, south-west London, may prove an ideal deputy to the new mayor, who did not declare a running-mate. The idea is perhaps not lost on Ms Kramer, who yesterday made much of her party's pivotal role in the new Assembly.

She said: "I am delighted that it looks as though my colleagues in the Assembly will have an opportunity to hold the balance of power and that, I think, means grown-up politics for London."

For 54-year-old Mr Norris, the decision on what next will be very much his own after a credible performance as the Conservative candidate who distanced himself from Central Office. His emphasis on the "openness, inclusivity, fairness and tolerance" could mean Mr Livingstone's offer to play a significant role in the new London is tempting.

A move to William Hague's Shadow Cabinet for Mr Norris would seem less likely given the political gap between the two men, but his new credentials as an electorally popular Tory could prove tempting for the Conservative leader.