Meet Rory Stewart
Meet Rory Stewart
Rory Stewart is no ordinary candidate. His varied career has been spent solving seemingly impossible challenges in some of the toughest parts of the world.
Rory grew up in London, in the same house where he now lives with his wife and two young children. He briefly joined the army as an eighteen year old before going to University - serving, like four generations of his family before him, in the Black Watch.
After graduating from Oxford, Rory became a diplomat, serving in Indonesia and the Balkans, before – aged just thirty – becoming a Deputy Governor in Iraq. There, he worked to bring communities together that had been ripped apart by a generation of dictatorship, extremism and war: rebuilding schools, hospitals and roads, resolving tribal disputes and holding elections. Much of his work focused on the need to give positive alternatives to young people, who otherwise might go down a path of violence.
After leaving Afghanistan, Rory was made a professor at Harvard University: teaching students about war, international development and the importance of good leadership. He has always taken particular joy in inspiring young people to be the best they can be.
Elected MP for Penrith and the Border in 2010, Rory fought tirelessly for his constituents: saving the local cinema and community ambulance, and battling the tech giants to bring high-speed broadband to this large rural community. He served in government in numerous roles, as Africa Minister – fighting climate change in some of the world’s poorest countries – and as an Environment Minister, tackling issues from flooding to protecting hedgehogs. He introduced the plastic bag tax, in the face of those who said it would never work.
As Prisons Minister, he was laser-focused on reducing violence - and promised to resign if he didn’t successfully cut assaults in Britain’s ten most troubled jails. He took a hands on approach: setting up a war room and bringing in a military commander to run it. He combined a tough focus on security, especially stopping drugs getting inside, with meaningful rehabilitation programmes for offenders. After a year, he managed to cut violence in these jails by 17%.
Rory was promoted to International Development Secretary last May, and immediately announced plans to double his department’s spending on combating climate change. He was an underdog candidate in the race to succeed Theresa May, flying the flag for centre ground practical politics. While he was not chosen by Conservative MPs, his campaign provided a breath of fresh air and inspired many people to get involved in politics for the first time.
Last September, when Boris Johnson made it clear he was prepared to send our economy off the cliff of a No Deal Brexit, Rory worked with MPs from all parties to stop him. For Rory, putting political games ahead of people’s lives was intolerable - and against his values. He sacrificed his career as a Conservative MP by voting to prevent a disastrous No Deal, forcing Boris Johnson to come to an agreement with the EU.
For Rory, his time in parliament was never about the politics - that was usually a distraction from the goal of changing people’s lives for the better. His career has always been about taking on big challenges, rolling up his sleeves and putting great ideas into practice.
Rory is standing for London Mayor to tackle the tough problems our city faces. He wants to make sure his children grow up in a city that’s still the world’s greatest. In recent months, he has gone out onto the streets, right across London, to hear people’s concerns and ideas for improving our city. Running as an independent, he’s free from party political games - able to work with everyone and take on good ideas no matter where they come from. He’s in no-one’s pocket - and answers only to ordinary Londoners.
Rory doesn’t accept our city’s problems are impossible to solve. As Mayor, he’ll roll up his sleeves and get things done - as he always has.