Rory Stewart asks Londoners if he can kip on their sofas in mayoral race
Rory Stewart already says he has stayed in hundreds of village homes as he trekked Afghanistan but now he is seeking new places to bed down in: the floors and sofas of London.
The intrepid independent candidate to become the capital’s next mayor promised to pack his own bedding and bring chocolates as he launched the Twitter hashtag “ComeKipWithMe” on Tuesday.
Sacked by Boris Johnson for rebelling over Brexit, the former Tory cabinet minister chose not to stand again as an MP for Penrith and The Border and instead set his sights on London.
The 47-year-old is aiming to walk through each of the city’s 32 boroughs during his mission to unseat Labour’s incumbent in City Hall, Sadiq Khan.
The former diplomat, who walked across Afghanistan in 2002, posted a video online calling for places to stay as he promenades across the capital during the listening exercise.
“Please have me to stay,” he pleads, acknowledging it is a “weird request”.
But he insists that the way mayors get to know their cities is by “being in other people’s shoes, seeing through their eyes, staying in their houses”.
“So please have me to stay with your family or just in your home, seeing your borough.
“Promise to bring a sleeping bag and a box of chocolates,” he adds with a jovial jab of his finger.
So far, the mayoral hopeful says he has gained essential insight into the Londoners he hopes to represent by staying in a Lambeth council estate and with a woman who supports rough sleepers in Newham.
While Mr Khan is the overwhelming favourite, Mr Stewart said he would continue asking the capital’s denizens for a place to stay if he succeeds in overthrowing the incumbent.