Rory Stewart woke me up with coffee, says #ComeKipWithMe host

A charity worker who was one of the first participants in Rory Stewart’s campaign #ComeKipWithMe has described him as a “perfect guest”.

The former Tory cabinet minister has asked members of the public if he can camp out at their homes, to “get to know the city”, during his bid to become London mayor.

In a video posted online on Tuesday, he promised to “bring a sleeping bag, and a box of chocolates” for his hosts.

Rory Stewart camps on the floor of a flat in Canning Town
Rory Stewart camps on the floor of a flat in Canning Town as part of his #ComeKipWithMe mayoral campaign (Credit: Lorraine Tabone/PA)

Lorraine Tabone, 50, who runs Lola’s Homeless in east-London, hosted Mr Stewart at her one-bedroom flat in Canning Town, after showing him around the local area.

“He slept on the floor because I have no furniture at the moment,” she told the PA news agency.

“He woke me up with a coffee about 7am and we spoke about issues – homelessness, knife crime, everything.

“Because it was all spontaneous and my oven was broken I couldn’t cook breakfast. I just gave him a couple of Alpine bars for his travels.

Today I'm launching #ComeKipWithMe – asking Londoners to invite me into their homes and show me the city through their eyes. I want to know your concerns and your ideas. And I promise to bring a sleeping bag and a box of chocolates!

Sign up:

— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) February 11, 2020

“We had a cup of tea and then they left. They gave me a lovely bunch of tulips.

“He was the perfect guest, a perfect gentleman.”

Lorraine said she offered to host the mayoral hopeful to raise awareness of her charity which is in “desperate” need of sponsorship and a building from which to run its services.

She said that the night before she had taken him on a tour of nearby Newham and Canning Town to speak to members of the homeless community, and then out for a Chinese meal.

“He paid, and he only had boiled rice – I had the duck,” she said.

They then returned to Lorraine’s home where they chatted to Ria, a volunteer at Lola’s Homeless, about her personal experiences.

Rory Stewart spoke with volunteer Ria (left) during his stay at Lorraine Tabone's flat
Rory Stewart spoke with volunteer Ria, left, during his stay at Lorraine Tabone’s flat (Lorraine Tabone/ PA)

Lorraine admitted that two weeks before the visit she did not know who Mr Stewart was, but that he had been “very genuine” and polite.

“I’m not political, but I know in my heart that my voice was heard. We were actually listened to. Everyone makes promises but none can survive on promises,” she said.

“He actually listened to me, it wasn’t Rory Rory Rory. I think he’s a nice guy, nothing was too much trouble.”

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