A former New York City mayor is reportedly being persuaded to run next year in the London mayoral election by prominent government officials across the Atlantic.
The Sunday Times of London, citing the former mayor’s friends, reports that Michael Bloomberg is “considering” running as the Tory candidate in next year’s election in London. The city will elect Boris Johnson’s successor in May 2016.
Powerful Brits are apparently publicly backing the idea as well. Steve Hilton, a top adviser to British Prime Minister Cameron, is urging Bloomberg to run, the newspaper reported.
“It would be an incredible coup for London if Mike Bloomberg could be persuaded to run for mayor here,” Hilton said. “His kind of pragmatic, problem-solving leadership is exactly what London needs.”
Hilton said he brought the idea of a Bloomberg run with Cameron and Finance Minister George Osborne in 2008 before Johnson was the Tory pick for mayor. Hilton abandoned the plan when Bloomberg announced he would run for a third term in New York.
The Sunday Times of London reports Johnson discussed the idea with Bloomberg, citing an anonymous friend.
However, Bloomberg aides shot down the report.
“You can quote me on the record of ruling it out,” former Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told The New York Post.
After his term as New York’s mayor ended in 2013, Bloomberg built a two-tower skyscraper, on the site of Roman temple ruins and owns a $20 million town house in London and even sits on the board of the Serpentine Galleries.
He was dubbed an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth III in 2013 for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic work in Britain. Bloomberg has also called Britain his “second home.”
For Bloomberg to run he would have to become a citizen of the country of the European Union, a prerequisite for running for mayor.
Wealthy foreigners could fast-track applications for British residency by investing $15 million in the country, but it would still take up to two years.
A source told the Sunday Times that they did not think it would be a problem.
Both of Bloomberg’s daughters are British citizens and his ex-wife Susan Brown was born in the UK.