Campbell won't seek Kensington seat
Ex-England footballer Sol Campbell has announced he will not put his name forward to be Conservative candidate in the safe Tory seat of Kensington, which is being vacated by Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
But the soccer star did not quash speculation that he is planning to launch a political career, saying in a statement that he has ambitions "elsewhere in the political arena".
The former defender, who made his name in the capital playing for Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, has been courted by the Conservatives and recently lunched with party chairman Grant Shapps amid suggestions he could run for London Mayor.
His name was widely linked with Kensington after he failed to rule out a bid in a TV interview over the weekend.
But in a statement, Mr Campbell said: "Due to growing speculation about the upcoming seat vacated by Malcolm Rifkind in Kensington & Chelsea, I would like to say that I will not be putting my name forward.
"It is a plum seat and whoever is picked by the Conservatives will be the right person for the job.
"My ambitions lie elsewhere in the political arena. There are a lot of discussions to be had which I believe is the proper way to get to the right conclusion."
Sir Malcolm announced last month that he was standing down from Parliament at the May 7 election, after being filmed by undercover reporters discussing possible work for a Chinese-based company. He denies any wrongdoing.
Tory Chief Whip Michael Gove said he would welcome a Campbell bid to become the mayor of London.
"I wouldn't mind if he threw his hat in the ring," Mr Gove told LBC Radio.
"I don't know him though. My son, I think, would probably prefer if Frank Lampard threw his hat in the ring - my son, I'm afraid, is a Chelsea fan."
Mr Gove added: "I personally, as a Queens Park Rangers supporter, would love it if a QPR player were to throw their hat into the ring."
The Cabinet minister said Lord Coe had shown that sports stars could make successful politicians and administrators.
"I don't think that just because someone is an outstanding athlete you should automatically write them off when it comes to success in other realms," he said.