Siobhan Benita

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Siobhan Benita had previously run for mayor as an independent in 2012

The Liberal Democrat’s London mayoral candidate has pulled out of the race for City Hall after the pandemic delayed the election by a year.

Siobhan Benita was set to run in the poll in May, but it was announced in March that it would be postponed.

The former civil servant said she was “simply not able to commit to another full year of campaigning” due to “the nature” of the unpaid role.

The party said the process to find Ms Benita’s replacement had begun.

“Details on the selection of a new candidate will be announced in due course,” the party added.

Ms Benita had been selected for the role in November and in February announced she would be campaigning for cannabis to be legalised in a bid to tackle rising levels of knife crime.

In a statement, she said she was “immensely grateful” to all those who had supported her campaign but “the demands of being a candidate are significant, particularly for an election of this scale”.

“I wish the very best of luck to my successor and look forward to supporting their campaign for a better London,” she said.

Rival candidate Sian Berry, who is standing for the Green Party in the mayoral election, tweeted that she was “genuinely sorry” to hear Ms Benita was pulling out of the race and she had been “looking forward to the debates with you”.

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said he was “very sorry to see Siobhan stand down at this time, but she will continue to be a huge asset to our party”.

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