Rory Stewart’s bid for Mayor of London is out of step with the capital, according to others in the race.

The former Conservative MP announced his run for Mayor as an independent candidate in the Evening Standard on Friday.

Mr Stewart said the city was suffering "a real lack of leadership, and of strong and thoughtful action" because politicians were living in a "bubble".

He said voters must "finally break free from the suffocating embrace of our dying party politics", in an open letter to Londoners published in the paper.

But Labour and the Liberal Democrats said London did not need a pro-Brexit mayor.

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan suggested Mr Stewart’s stance on the European Union and as a former Conservative was wrong for the city.

He said: “London is open and Sadiq welcomes all challenges.

“The most important thing in this election is that London chooses a Mayor committed to stopping Brexit and standing up for London’s values in the shadow of the huge cuts imposed by the Tory government.”

And Liberal Democrat candidate Siobhan Benita said her party was “the popular and credible choice” in the capital.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Chuka Umunna and London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon with Siobhan Benita (centre). Photo: London Lib Dems

She said: “London is a remain city. There is no Brexit deal that is good for London. Rory Stewart wants Brexit. London doesn’t.”

She added: “The Lib Dems have shown we are the ones who can win elections and we have already seen off various independents and new parties in recent months. ”

But Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey said he welcomed any challenge to Sadiq Khan's "woeful record" as Mayor.

He said: "We have all suffered for too long under a Mayor with no plans, no ideas for London and entirely focused on moving back to Westminster to take over the leadership of the Labour party."

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Shaun Bailey, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London said he welcomed any challenge to Sadiq Khan

Mr Stewart is currently an MP for the Cumbria constituency of Penrith and The Border, which he has represented since 2010.

But he will stand down from the seat at the next General Election to focus on his mayoral run.

Mr Stewart also resigned from the Conservative party on Friday.

He had already had the whip removed – along with 20 other former Tory MPs – for voting against the Government to block a no-deal Brexit.

In July, Mr Stewart stood to be leader of the Conservative party, making it to the third round of voting among Tory MPs.

Before entering politics, he was a diplomat, and served as deputy governor of two provinces in Iraq following the UK invasion in 2003.

The former Eton student will now kick off his mayoral campaign by visiting all 32 London boroughs, meeting residents in Barnet today.