Rory Stewart has announced he will run as an independent candidate for the Mayor of London, only hours after he said he was quitting the Conservative Party.
In a campaign video that featured St Paul’s Cathedral in the background he said London had “so much potential” but was now in “real danger”.
“Danger from Brexit, from technological change but I think above all, from what’s happened in British politics, to the kind of extremism that is taking over our country,” he said.
“I believe that the way to fight back is through this great city, through the traditions of compromise.”
He has pledged to walk through “every borough of this great city” during his campaign.
Earlier in the day the former International Development Secretary said it had been a “great privilege” to serve his constituents but he would stand down as an MP at the next election.
“Because I have loved the constituency so much, I had considered standing as an Independent; but I have decided that I wouldn’t want to run against those Conservative members who have been such wonderful colleagues over the last ten years,” he said.
Mr Stewart was one of the 21 Conservative MPs who had the whip removed last month for voting against the government.
The Penrith and the Border MP was made aware of his expulsion from the party while he was collecting his GQ Politician of the Year award.
He ran for the Conservative Party leadership earlier in the year, coming fifth, and attracted attention to his campaign through filmed “RoryWalks” on the streets of Britain.
Former Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he was sad to see Mr Stewart go, but maintained there was still a place in the party for more moderate MPs.
“We’ve always been a very broad church and we continue to be and I hope we will be in the future as well,” he said.