There is more chance of Michael Bloomberg flying to the moon than becoming London mayor
There has been a lot of speculation in recent days about former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg standing for mayor of London next year.
The truth is it isn't. The Greater London Authority Act states that potential mayoral candidates must be either a "Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or a relevant citizen of the Union".
The Act also states that they must either be a London elector, an occupant or tenant of a London property for the 12 months prior to his nomination, had London as their primary place of work for that period, or had their main home in London for 12 months prior to nomination.
Michael Bloomberg fits none of these criteria. Most importantly he is not a UK citizen.
Now it's true that he could become one. However, under current legislation, the shortest period of time in which this could happen is three years. Nominations for the next mayoral election will close in less than a year.
Despite this fact, "Conservative sources" told the Sunday Times that "a Tory home secretary could speed up the process on the grounds that Bloomberg had invested at least £500m in Britain. 'We don't think it would be a problem,' said a source familiar with the discussions."
Let's assume for a second that this is true. Let's assume that the Conservatives win in May and let's assume that once elected, a Conservative home secretary is then able to change or override current legislation which prevents people from becoming UK citizens in less than three years. Let's also assume that all this is possible within the few months between the election and the beginning of the selection process for the Conservative candidate.
So let's assume all of these massive hurdles can be overcome. Let's assume for a second that this is all somehow possible, rather than just a wild fantasy in the vivid imagination of Steve Hilton.
Now assuming that he does somehow become a UK citizen in such an incredibly short period of time, how could he then be sold as a potential candidate? How could the Conservatives after spending years claiming the immigration system needs to be toughened up, get away with bending immigration rules, to enable a wealthy migrant to be their candidate? How could they then make Bloomberg look like anything other than an American carpetbagger, flown in at the last minute?
.@AdamBienkov Mike Bloomberg is a fantastic leader and a hero of mine. But the idea of Londoners voting for him is delusional.
— Michael Liebreich (@MLiebreich) April 5, 2015
The truth is that all of this is rather academic. Despite the acres of newsprint wasted on this in recent days, Bloomberg does not even want the job.
According to the New York Post:
"Bloomberg aides called the whole thing bollocks.
'"You can quote me on the record ruling it out," former Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told The Post.
"He is flattered, but he loves New York City too much to leave it — and knows how tough it will be for anyone to follow Boris."
Of course none of this has stopped the current mayor Boris Johnson writing an entire column today about the prospect of Bloomberg succeeding him.
However, the truth is that whoever stands for the Conservatives next year it won't be Bloomberg. Bookies are currently offering 100/1 that he will be the next mayor of London. Even this seems generous.
Bloomberg may one day decide to enter UK politics, but that day won't be any time soon.