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As the battle for London Mayor enters its final throes, Hampstead actor Tom Conti has revealed he is harbouring some regrets about not standing for office.

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The Shirley Valentine actor toyed with the idea of swapping the film set for City Hall in 2008.

Despite offering his services to the Conservatives, he was pipped to the post by that other great performer – Boris Johnson, who was selected as the party’s candidate.

The Scottish-born actor said: “I was tempted to run for London Mayor this time round. I sort of regretted not running in 2008.

“I decided not to because my family asked me please don’t do this, it will ruin all of our lives. They were probably right.

“I think the meetings that one would have to have with a lot of trying and angry people, seems a bit dreary.”

Despite contemplating a foray into politics, Mr Conti revealed that if he ever was elected London Mayor his first move would be to abolish the position.

“One of the things I would have done if I had been elected was start to dismantle the office because I am not sure we need a Mayor of London,” he said.

“I don’t see that there has been any great benefit. Public transport has improved but that may have happened anyway. It is expensive and quite frankly I’m not sure it is worth it.”

Wise words perhaps, but there are few politicians who have determined their own demise.

One can only guess what City Hall veteran Ken Livingstone thinks of all this.

The Labour hopeful was criticised by Conti, who said his election would be a “tragedy”.

He had warmer words for independent candidate Siobhan Benita, although he fell short of an outright endorsement.

“I am supporting her right to stand,” he said.

“I don’t know enough about her to know if I would vote for her, but I think it is a good thing she is running because she is independent and I think people are sick of party politics.”

We will discover whether London agrees on May 3.

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