Rory Stewart wants to stay the night – on your sofa, air mattress, or even your floor.

The independent mayoral candidate today asked Londoners to put him up in their homes, so he can get to know the best and worst parts of life across the capital.

Mr Stewart admitted it was a “weird request” but claimed staying with residents was the best way to connect with the city.

The former Iraqi governor walked 6,000 miles across Afghanistan in 2002, staying in the homes of villagers.

And during his campaign for Conservative leader last summer he became known for his ‘Rory Walks’ videos on Twitter, which saw him meet residents on streets across the country.

Fixing London’s issues will not come from issuing press releases


Now Mr Stewart says sleepovers in the capital will help him be a better Mayor.

He said: “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.”

And the former Conservative minister says he’ll carry on with the policy if he’s elected as Mayor.

He even promises he’ll bring a sleeping bag and a box of chocolates with him.

But this quirky approach to canvassing isn’t as novel as it might seem – Mr Stewart’s plans bear a striking resemblance to a former Conservative mayoral hopeful.

In the run up to the last City Hall election, Ivan Massow, a self-proclaimed “gay, ex-alcoholic, and dyslexic” businessman, asked Londoners to put him up for a night.

Like Mr Stewart, he said knowing where residents go out, send their kids to school, work and commute would help him form better policies.

Mr Massow was not successful in his bid to represent the Conservatives, with Zac Goldsmith eventually winning the candidacy.

Running for Mayor is not a reality TV show


Today, Liberal Democrat candidate Siobhan Benita hit back at Mr Stewart, saying a mayoral bid is “not a reality TV show”.

She said: “What’s next, Wife Swap? Having spent a privileged life going from Eton to Oxford to being a rural MP in Cumbria, it’s little wonder that Rory Stewart is having to play catch up on London.

“I’ve kipped on more London floors over the past 48 years than he can possibly dream of.

“I don’t need to run a gimmicky social experiment to know what life at the sharp end is like for Londoners.”

Labour, the Conservatives, and the Greens were approached for comment.