The Guardian: #ComeKipWithMe: 2,000 Londoners take up Rory Stewart's offer
More than 2,000 people have signed up for a chance to have the former Conservative minister and London mayoral candidate Rory Stewart as a guest in their home, taking him up on his offer to “see things through their eyes”.
Stewart launched his #ComeKipWithMe campaign earlier this week, proposing to stay on Londoners’ sofas in order to listen to their concerns about life in the capital.
“The way that mayors get to know their cities is by literally walking through every one of the 31 boroughs, being in other people’s shoes, seeing things through their eyes, staying in their houses,” said the former international development secretary in a video on Twitter.
“I promise to bring a sleeping bag and a box of chocolates,” he added.
The former diplomat published a travel memoir, The Places in Between, about his 6,000-mile solo walk across Afghanistan in 2002, during which he claims to have stayed in more than 500 strangers’ homes.
Stewart embarked on a similar walking tour of his former constituency of Penrith and The Border in preparation for becoming its MP in 2010, and he has said he would continue his #ComeKipWithMe initiative in London if he was elected to City Hall.
Earlier this month Stewart stayed with Lorraine Tabone, who runs Lola’s Homeless charity from her flat in Newham. She is currently trying to raise funding to get a permanent space for the charity elsewhere.
The two women said they were impressed by Stewart. “He was a perfect gentleman,” said Tabone. “He carried his own bags.” They woke up the next day to the sound of him making them coffee.
“It was all natural,” she said. “There was no politics. I just told him how it was. Benefit cuts, old people, single mothers, people in poverty, no youth centres, the homelessness problem. Just give us communities a little bit of the pot and let us run things.”