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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 13:54 GMT
DJ Read steps up Tory mayor bid
Mike Read presents the final Top of the Pops in 2006
Mike Read: 'not a political animal'
Ex-Radio 1 DJ Mike Read is stepping up his campaign to be the Conservative candidate for London mayor in 2008.

Mr Read said he was seeking financial backers after being assured by the party he would be taken seriously and not treated as a "lightweight".

The Tories were forced to extend their search for someone to take on Ken Livingstone in 2008 after being turned down by several well-known figures.

Radio presenter Nick Ferrari pulled out of the race last year.

Others thought to have turned the party down include Lord Coe and former Metropolitan police chief, Lord Stevens.

Actor Tom Conti is still thought to be considering a bid for the nomination, which has been thrown open to non-party members in an effort to boost interest.

Encouraged

Mr Read told the BBC News website he had been urged to consider standing by Tory activists after he made a speech at the party's annual conference.

On a daily basis I get angry about the state of the country
Mike Read

He said he had also been very encouraged by a meeting with party chairman Francis Maude.

"I actually played my own devil's advocate. I told him I don't want to be perceived as a token, lightweight celebrity.

"I left the door open for him to say 'don't do it, I think you would be too lightweight'."

But Mr Maude assured the broadcaster he would be taken seriously and that the party was looking for someone well-known to take on Labour's Mr Livingstone.

'Moving forward'

Mr Read said he now planned to work with a PR agent who has "trained" politicians in the past. He also planned to put together a "donor document" in an effort to find financial backers.

"We are actually moving forward with it," he told the BBC News website.

Mr Read, who says he has always voted Conservative, was a DJ on BBC Radio 1 for 12 years. He hit the headlines when he banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood's single Relax from his breakfast show for its sexual references.

He also presented children's television show Saturday Superstore and has taken part in ITV1 reality show I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

He has also written the music or lyrics for six stage musicals and says he has written 35 books, including the Guinness Book of Hit Singles.

He currently presents the mid-morning show on London based internet, digital and AM radio station The Big L.

'Wisdom'

Mr Read said he was not concerned about his lack of political experience as he did not think voters would be worried about it.

"I am not a political animal as such. I am not steeped in politics but I am steeped, hopefully, in a bit of wisdom and a bit of common sense and I have an ability to communicate with people."

He said Ken Livingstone was a "very resilient" politician who would be a tough opponent.

But Londoners were increasingly fed up with the congestion charge, the Oyster travel card scheme and Mr Livingstone's style of governing, he said.

"If you talk to a lot of Londoners, they don't like the way he comes over but they don't know anybody else. They can't name any other candidates."

He added: "I might not win, but if you believe in something you should try to do it.

"On a daily basis I get angry about the state of the country, the nanny state and the way things are going."

The Conservatives are planning to give Londoners the final say over their candidate later this year in a series of X-Factor-style public votes designed, in the words of leader David Cameron, to "fire the public's imagination".


SEE ALSO
Tories delay London mayoral race
04 Aug 06 |  UK Politics
Ferrari will not be Tories' mayor
02 Aug 06 |  UK Politics
Londoners get say on Tory hopeful
12 Jun 06 |  UK Politics

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