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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 05:27 GMT 06:27 UK
Comedian's mayoral ambition
Lee Hurst
Hurst describes himself as "Tower Hamlets, born and bred"
East End comedian Lee Hurst says he is considering swapping the stage for City Hall and running for Mayor of London.

Hurst, 40, who was born in Tower Hamlets, has cut back on his television appearances to run his Backyard Comedy Club in Bethnal Green.

But he says recent proposals to replace his club and other buildings along the road with blocks of flats have re-ignited an old political spark.

Now he wants to tackle such issues as crime, dumped cars, and the scrapping of the congestion charge by running as an independent mayoral candidate in the 2004 election.

"It just made me want to fight to save my club and made me get involved again," he told BBC News Online.

"Years ago I used to be active politically but as people get older you get diverted into other things and lose your passion."

I think people are fed up with mainstream politicians so maybe myself, or someone else, will slip in
Lee Hurst
He says he's waiting on the paperwork but has been seriously considering running.

"Locally, I've announced it and I have had people shouting out: "I'll vote for you" in the street," he said.

"I kind of thought about it last time around, but I knew Ken would walk it and I thought 'let him make a fool of himself'.

"I'm not a fan of any of his transport policies at all. I wouldn't have any bus lanes for a start, they don't work."

However Hurst says he is in favour of public transport and would like to see Routemasters back with conductors on the buses and guards on the trains.

He would also appeal to female voters by proposing a carriage set aside for women on late-night trains. Crime and dumped cars are also among his personal gripes.

Ken Livingstone
Could Ken be unseated by an outsider?
Now he's hoping his local roots will stand him in good stead.

"I'm born and bred in Tower Hamlets, I've lived here all my life," he said.

"All my staff live locally and we have local suppliers so we keep money in Bethnal Green and we draw thousands into the area."

And he's confident he can provide a challenge to Mr Livingstone, Lib Dem candidate Simon Hughes, Labour's Nicky Gavron and Tory challenger Steve Norris.

"Anything could happen, Ken will not win, but what he's done is prove an independent can win," said Hurst.

"I think people are fed up with mainstream politicians so maybe myself, or someone else, will slip in."

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