Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is “considering” running for the same job in London.
The American billionaire, who was given an honorary knighthood by the Queen last year, is reported to have the backing of the Conservative Party.
Sources close to Mr Bloomberg say he is passionate about replacing Boris Johnson when his second term finishes in 2016.
The 73-year-old has extremely close links to the capital which he has in the past described as his “second home”.
Along with business interests in London, where he owns a £20 million house in Knightsbridge, he has undertaken a considerable amount of charity work which helped lead to his knighthood.
He is also on the boards of the Serpentine gallery and Old Vic theatre.
The father-of-two made his fortune as the founder of the financial data and media company Bloomberg.
A source close to the former New York Mayor told the Mirror: “Mike has enormous affection for London and the UK.
“You only have to look towards his track record over what he achieved when he was in City Hall in Manhattan to see what he can do.”
Well, exactly. Smoking bans, soda bans.
If Mr Bloomberg were to run, he would need fast track citizenship – which usually takes five years.
However due to his links to Britain, including investing more than £500 million as well as having two daughters with British citizenship, insiders do not think it “would be a stumbling block”.
Mr Bloomberg’s ex wife, Susan Brown, was born in Yorkshire. They were married for 18 years before divorcing in 1993.
Actually, with his money, I think Bloomberg could probably become a British citizen inside 24 hours. It would probably take a bit longer to acquire a peerage, a seat in the House of Lords, a coat of arms, and a family tree going back to the Norman Conquest. About a week, I imagine.
In another variant of the story, however, top UK Conservatives have been trying to persuade a reluctant Bloomberg to run for London mayor.
Some powerful Brits have been trying to persuade the billionaire philanthropist to run for mayor again … of London, according to the Sunday Times of London.
Steve Hilton, a top adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron, told the paper:
“It would be an incredible coup for London if Mike Bloomberg could be persuaded to run for mayor here … His kind of pragmatic, problem-solving leadership is exactly what London needs.”
The Tories, a British political party, are “considering drafting” Bloomberg as their candidate for the 2016 London mayoral election, the report said.
In the Mirror online poll asking “Would you back Michael Bloomberg for London mayor?”, the response tonight stands at 75% No.