Former Tory MP Rory Stewart has quit as an independent candidate in the race to become London mayor.
Stewart said it had been an ‘agonising decision’ to quit but said after the election was delayed by another year he could not expect volunteers to continue unpaid for that amount of time.
The former contender for Conservative Party leader made the announcement in the Evening Standard on what should have been the eve of polling day.
‘The point about an independent campaign is it needs to be a sort of quite quick insurgency where you really build excitement over a few months,’ he said. ‘But you can’t beat these huge machines if you’re pushed into a nearly two-year campaign.’
A poll from Queen Mary University of London in March put Rory Stewart in third place on 13% of support, well behind Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan and Tory candidate Shaun Bailey.
Have your say
Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.
He told the newspaper: ‘It’s been a very difficult decision. It’s a job I really, really dreamed of. I don’t think I will ever find another role in the world which would be as exciting or satisfying as that. It would have been a great, great privilege. There is no city like it in the world.
‘If I had been lucky enough to be elected I would much rather have done [this] than being prime minister.’
Stewart raised eyebrows earlier this year after launching a ‘Come Kip With Me’ initiative to sleep on Londoners’ floors to help him understand the problems facing those living in the capital.