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Downing Street contender quits Commons, launches bid to be London mayor

Oct 05, 2019

London (UK) Oct 05: One of the recent leading Conservative contenders to be Britain's prime minister announced Friday he is to quit parliament and will bid to become the next mayor of London.
Rory Stewart announced he was resigning as an MP by deciding not to stand in the next election. Hours later came the dramatic announcement that he will stand as an independent candidate in next May's election to choose the Mayor of London.
Sadiq Khan currently holds the job and is favorite to win a second four-year term, having in 2016 succeeded Boris Johnson.
Political commentators said Stewart's decision will come as a blow to the Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, with the risk the vote could be split.
The job of Mayor of London is regarded as the top political position in Britain outside of national politics.
Stewart was fired from the Conservative group of MPs at Westminster for voting against the government.
He told the London Evening Standard: "It's always difficult to run against your own party. It's been a painful journey for me. I suppose it was really crystallised when I had the Conservative whip removed."
In a message to Londoners, Stewart said: "I am running to be mayor of London as an independent candidate."
"We are going to have to work together to lead London through one of the most challenging times in its history, through the uncertainty of Brexit, and in the face of an ever more divisive politics."
Source: Xinhua