Rory Stewart wants to sleep with you

The mayoral hopeful wants Londoners to invite him into their homes for the night.


Topics Politics UK

Rory Stewart, London mayoral candidate, former Conservative leadership no-hoper and darling of the Remoaner commentariat, has made an unusual request. He has asked Londoners to invite him into their homes and allow him to stay the night.

So has the Eton and Oxbridge-educated former colonial governor fallen on hard times? Not quite. Stewart’s request is all part of his London mayoral bid. He has launched a campaign called #ComeKipWithMe.

The idea is simple. By sleeping on the spare beds, sofas and floors of ordinary Londoners, he can see the city through their eyes.

‘Fixing London’s issues – whether on crime, housing, or our air quality – will not come from issuing press releases or edicts from a distant office building… It comes from getting out into communities across the capital, staying with people – listening to their concerns, as well as their ideas for the best solutions’, says Stewart in a promotional video.

Clearly, his previous efforts to slum it in Pret A Manger didn’t bring him close enough to the people he is hoping to represent.

Stewart seems to fancy himself as a High Tory George Orwell, aping the Road to Wigan Pier, living the lives of the dispossessed. He even visited Wigan as part of his much-derided #RoryWalks Tory leadership campaign, videoing his strange chit chats with locals for the consumption of the commentariat on social media.

But a press release for #ComeKipWithMe makes clear it was inspired by Stewart’s Alan Partridge-esque solo ramble through northern Afghanistan.

In the early 2000s, Stewart slept in the homes of hundreds of villagers as he trekked across the country. During his ramblings, he was shot at and attacked by wolves.

He seems to think that with enough time sleeping on people’s floors, and by force of his own personality, he can transform societies. In a 2010 New Yorker profile, he said of his time governing in Iraq: ‘If only I worked really hard, and spent a lot of time sitting with sheikhs, and got my politeness right, and understood the culture, and got out in my boat in the marshes, and used my personality, I could build a state.’

Stewart may have abandoned his Middle Eastern adventures – perambulating in Afghanistan, smoking opium in Iran and governing a small region of Iraq. But his political instincts have stayed the same. He wants to bring his neocolonial noblesse oblige to London. To do this, he thinks he has to learn about the little people and our strange customs, habits and concerns.

Though Stewart may have many fans in the political class, the #ComeKipWithMe campaign shows his hilarious disconnect from ordinary members of the public. Sleeping with the natives is no way to bring yourself closer to the people.

Nevertheless, if any intrepid spiked readers want to invite Rory round for a sleepover, then you can sign up for #ComeKipWithMe here.

Picture by: Getty.

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Dan Behr

13th February 2020 at 2:01 pm

Let me come and patronise you.

Paul Sutton

13th February 2020 at 10:29 am

He’s a lunatic – good comedy though. Even by the standards of hatstand Remainerdom, he’s bonkers – makes AC Grayling seem a sage-like pragmatist.

He’ll suffer one of those weird incidents – found naked in the stairwell of some high-rise hell, having been invited to dinner by a skinhead who stole his phone, on Clapham Common.

Or found “badger-watching” at some dogging spot.

He’s clearly a raving pervert – probably a “Vice Anglais” fan, like T.E. Lawrence.

Danny Doran

13th February 2020 at 7:20 am

Yes he is a Remainder, but he showed, during the leadership race, integrity and a genuine desire to heal the Brexit rift. I’m glad that Boris got his majority, current Labour got crushed, the lib dems crushed even worse, but my instinct tells me Rory Stewart is one of the good guys. And I couldn’t say that about many politicians here or past. I think you’re are being very harsh on a decent man. To be frank I expect this kind of sneering article from the other lot.
Still love Spiked but please be a little fairer.

Michael Lynch

12th February 2020 at 9:36 pm

Rory always comes across of being too earnest to be true. Remember the Tory leadership debate? He is now obviously desperate for a role and as long as he plays the woke game around London he’s sure to pick up a few gigs and keep himself going.

Joyful Cynic

12th February 2020 at 8:46 pm

If I lived in London I would invite him for the giggles. Although I doubt I would be one of the lucky ones who would have their invite accepted lol.

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