Daniel Korski, the entrepreneur and former advisor to David Cameron, has thrown his hat into the ring to become the Tory candidate for mayor of London. 

He launched his campaign on Tuesday with a piece in the Telegraph in which he promised to bring back the “London Dream”.

As the son of refugees fleeing Eastern Europe in the late 1960s, he has lived the London dream first-hand, founding a successful venture capital firm that supports tech start-ups, PUBLIC, and becoming a special advisor to Cameron in Downing Street in 2016.

Under Sadiq Khan, Korski argues, the “London Dream” is facing extinction due to “chronic mismanagement” in everything from transport to the tech sector and the City. 

So what is Korski offering? He is leaning heavily into his “tech bro” knowledge of AI, software and data to fix London’s inefficient rail system and thinks a smarter “pay per mile” system should replace Khan’s unpopular ULEZ.

Korski also wants to implement a small tourist tax on hotel rooms to fund extra police officers on the beat in response to rising crime levels. On housing, he claims building over railway lines will supply much of the intense demand and he has promised half to social housing. 

Since the post of mayor was created in 2000, the politics of the men occupying the post have differed wildly.

From “Red Ken” Livingstone to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to the unfailingly progressive Khan, Londoners have oscillated intensely on who and what they want to define the city.

If Korski manages to beat the other Tory candidates and secure the job, it would be the city’s first foray into American-style tech bro entrepreneurial governance – no one has ever made “from Bow to Bromley” sound so American. 

Although a stellar candidate with a sparkling career that has taken him around the world – at one point running the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Basra in Iraq after the conflict – Korski for mayor is hardly a done deal.

Some of his rivals include London Assembly members Nick Rogers, Andrew Boff, and Susan Hall. The hustings will take place throughout June and July with a winner announced on 19 July.

After Khan’s ruinous tenure where the only noticeable change is the colour of some zebra crossings, Korski’s experience from Basra may just be what the crumbling city needs. But as the current mayor quipped on BBC Radio London: “I think every Tory in London besides Boris Johnson is running to be the Tory candidate.”

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