Russell Brand 'absolutely not' running for Mayor of London: 'We've already got a comic in the job'

Brand had ess than affable words for the current Mayor of the capital, despite Johnson's markedly more flattering column on the comedian today

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The Independent Online

Boris Johnson said he was "thrilled" that Russell Brand could possibly run for London Mayor, despite being as "convincing as a political theorist as a toaster made by Russell Hobbs".

Turns out, Brand has less than affable words in return for the current Mayor of the capital –uttered as he simultaneously confirmed he would "absolutely not" be considering running for the position in 2016.

Speaking to Jon Holmes in an interview with XFM radio, set to be broadcast tomorrow at 8am, Brand said: "Just hearing Boris Johnson there, you can see why people like him. He's a funny bloke, he's affable, he's got a nice way with him.

"But this is a time where a lot of Londoners are facing real fear about their homes. There's a real housing crisis. We've seen protesters at Earl's Court, we've seen on the Carpenters Estate, mum's having to organise not to be dispersed all over the country.

"Meanwhile Boris Johnson, the elected Mayor, elected to look after us, the people of London, takes five times more meetings with bankers than he does with civil servants, or representatives of the fire brigade, or any ordinary Londoner. You can see why, Jon, people might think… I think we've already got a comedian who's more known for his hair than his policies."

Boris Johnson wielding a brick at the Conservative Party conference

Holmes asked: "So this is a no, you're not going to do it

To which Brand replied: "Absolutely not. We've already got a comic in the job. If you want a daft comedian running London, just leave things as they are. What I'm interested in is real change."

Johnson had reacted to reports that suggested the comedian-turned-revolutionary was considering standing for the role on an independent "anti-politics" ticket in his column for The Telegraph.

"So much of this vituperation is obviously motivated by jealousy, of his success, his easy good humour, his string of beautiful and intelligent girlfriends, his Hollywood lifestyle, etc," he wrote.

"The second [reason for siding with Brand] is that he genuinely seems like a nice chap. A while ago he came to film Question Time in City Hall and made a good impression on everyone – chatting in the lift, introducing us to his mother etc – even if someone afterwards said that he did nip off to the gents for a long time."


Earlier today, and still on the seemingly endless publicity trail for his new book Revolution, Brand appeared on Radio 4's Today Show opposite Tom Sutcliffe, Susan Neiman, Juliet Barker and David Babbs.

During the programme, he again discussed his idea of "beautiful" democracy – a political framework built around self-supported communities  and free from bureaucracy – and why he wouldn’t be voting in the UK’s next election.

"The reason I’ve not voted is because, like a lot of people in the country, 64 per cent in the last election we held, I don’t see who I’m supposed to vote for," he said.

"Ed Miliband? Clegg? The racist geezer? Cameron, the marginally less racist? They all come from the same schools, they all come from the same background. Now what I want is if these people are our leaders, if parliamentary democracy is going to be something that engages us, ordinary people, then it has to represent us. It has to represent us."

The speculation over the comedian’s possible foray into the world of politics came after he admitted he could be set to give up acting in order to focus on his revolutionary ideas.

It also followed an explosive appearance on Newsnight on Thursday, during which Brand said he was "open-minded" to suggestions that the US government  orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.