On Wednesday, 06 May 2020, Rory Stewart withdrew his name from the London mayoral race saying the coronavirus pandemic makes it impossible for him to sustain an independent candidacy for an extended period.
Stewart, a former Tory Cabinet minister running as an independent, was due to face off incumbent Sadiq Khan for Labour and Shaun Bailey for the Conservatives. But the election, originally scheduled for May 7, has been postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In a statement Wednesday, Stewart announced he was pulling out of the race “with sadness.”
“I firmly believe London is the greatest city on earth — and its courageous response to COVID-19 proves that more than ever,” he said. “It would have been the honor of my life to serve the city as mayor, but while the considerable challenges of running as an independent were manageable for a normal race, they are forbidding for an extended and delayed election.”
Stewart was an early critic of the U.K. government’s response to the pandemic, calling in early March for schools to close and gatherings to be prohibited.His mayoral campaign caught eyes with a “ComeKipWithMe” initiative, in which he asked Londoners to let him stay with them for a night and sleep on their sofas.