UK Politics

Lembit Opik wants to run to be London's mayor

Lembit Opik
Image caption Mr Opik lost his Montgomeryshire seat

The former MP Lembit Opik has said he would like to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor.

Mr Opik, who tried his hand at comedy since losing his seat in the May election, said "one or two" senior Lib Dems had suggested it.

He told the BBC Conservative mayor Boris Johnson had shown "colourful" characters could stand for mayor.

Labour have shortlisted former mayor Ken Livingstone and ex-MP Oona King for the election due in May 2012.

Mr Opik was one of the Commons' best known characters before losing his Montgomeryshire seat in May.

'Joker'

He was regularly in gossip magazines, having dated TV weather presenter Sian Lloyd and Cheeky Girl singer Gabriela Irimia.

But he lost a bid in 2008 to become Lib Dem party president - he admitted that some Lib Dems saw him as too much of a "joker". Since losing his seat he has turned to comedy - trying stand up at the Backstage Comedy Club in London's West End and at Glastonbury.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast about reports he was interested in running for Mayor of London in 2012 he said: "I'm potentially standing for mayor of London and that's because one or two fairly senior Lib Dem MPs from London suggested it.

"I don't know for sure if this is a viable campaign but we are trying to get a manifesto together and say: 'Look if London wants it, if the Lib Dems want it, then I will stand'."

He said Conservative mayor Mr Johnson - another politician well known for his personality and media appearances - had "proved that this city is mature enough to recognise the difference between character and policy - I think Boris has shown that London people really do understand that difference".

He suggested the final race could be between three "colourful characters" but said he was testing support in London over the next few weeks.

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