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Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita today dropped out of the race due to financial reasons after the pandemic delayed the election by a year.

The former civil servant said the demands on a candidate were “significant” and the unpaid role mad it difficult to combine with other work.

She becomes the second candidate to leave the contest after independent candidate and former Tory minister Rory Stewart dropped out in May.

The vote for the next Mayor of London was due to take place in May this year, but the election was pushed back a year due to the pandemic.

Ms Siobhan Benita was selected in November 2018. She said it had been a “privilege” to campaign as the Lib Dem candidate for the past 18 months.

She added: “The demands of being a candidate are significant, particularly for an election of this scale, the nature of the role, which is unpaid, makes it very difficult to combine with other work.

“Sadly, at this stage, I’m simply not able to commit to another full year of campaigning. I wish the very best of luck to my successor and look forward to supporting their campaign for a better London.”

The Lib Dems said an internal party process had started in order to choose Ms Benita’s successor with a new candidate being announced in “due course”.

Acting party leader Ed Davey added: “I’ve known Siobhan for several years and she is an incredibly inspiring woman.

“Her campaign for a greener, fairer London helped us double our vote in London in the last election. I’m very sorry to see Siobhan stand down at this time, but she will continue to be a huge asset to our party.”