Announcing his decision to step down as an MP, Former Conservative leadership contender Rory Stewart said he will now run as an independent candidate for mayor of London. Speaking further on the new development on his Twitter handle, Tory expressed his sadness over his decision to quit as a Tory MP for Penrith and the Border, just three months after he led a surprise bid to lead the party. Stewart then announced his intention to challenge Sadiq Khan for the mayoralty, when London goes to the polls next year. He also promised Londoners that he would start a walking tour of all 32 boroughs to meet people and listen to their concerns.
It’s been a great privilege to serve Penrith and The Border for the last ten years, so it is with sadness that I am announcing that I will be standing down at the next election, and that I have also resigned from the Conservative Party.— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) October 4, 2019
The former MP was reportedly in joint second place with Shaun Bailey, the Tory candidate, behind the incumbent, Khan as per private polling. With Rory's exit, two leadership contenders are also leaving the Conservative party. Before Rory, no-deal Brexit rebel Sam Gyimah defected to the Liberal Democrats last month. Tory's departure was branded as the last rites for moderate Conservativism under Boris Johnson and comes in the wake of high-profile resignations by Amber Rudd and Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Tory leader. With his social-media bid dubbed “RoryWalks" Stewart had been winning support in the leadership race. The ex-MP was among the 21 Tory rebels who supported a bid to seize control of the Commons timetable to pass a law preventing the prime minister from crashing the UK out of the EU. This very bid led PM Boris Johnson to retaliate by sacking all the rebels, which saw two former chancellors stripped of the Conservative whip.
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Stewart said to a UK publication that before coming to the decision he had considered standing as an independent. But then he changed his mind as he did not want to run against those Conservative members who have been such wonderful colleagues over the last ten years. He said that he is grateful to all the members of his local party who have written in support and also those who resigned from the Conservative Party in support of his position. Speaking on the change in reactions and relationships among the politicians, the ex-MP stated that he wouldn't want to test loyalties, destroy old friendships or push any of these issues any further.
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