By David Owen
A prospective candidate in the 2016 London Mayoral election plans to include a bid by the city for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in his election manifesto.
Derek Wyatt, a former Labour MP and England rugby international, will also advocate that the United Kingdom capital enter the race for Expo 2025 - a move that could set up a repeat of the epic 2012 Olympic match-up with Paris.
Wyatt, 64, also wants to see a sporting equivalent of the Royal Society, the UK's academy of sciences, established in London.
While the UK capital replaced Johannesburg as host of the British Empire Games in 1934, it has never hosted a Commonwealth Games; it hosted the original Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851 and another world exposition in 1862, but has not featured since.
"London has never had the Commonwealth Games," Wyatt, an MP from 1997 until 2010, told insidethegames.
"It has all the facilities.
"It would be the most popular Commonwealth Games ever."
He went on: "British sport has shown what it can do with the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Glasgow, and the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
"The country is also hosting a large number of high-profile international single-sport events, such as next year's Rugby World Cup.
"It is high time sport was accorded the same sort of status in Britain as that deservedly enjoyed by science and the arts.
"I think the foundation of a sporting equivalent of the Royal Society would help to achieve this."
On the idea of an Expo bid, Wyatt said: "We created Expo with the Great Exhibition of 1851.
"It has been a long time.
"In this internet age, we could spread the exposition around different boroughs – especially the poorer ones."
The next Mayoral election is set for May 2016; the present incumbent, Boris Johnson, is standing as a Conservative candidate in next year's General Election and is not expected to run.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls last month signalled French Government backing for a Paris bid for Expo 2025, in a move interpreted initially as making a 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid by the city less likely.
Sports leaders have since been at pains to dispel this impression.
They received a big boost last week when François Hollande, the French President, told French TV he was in favour of a Paris Olympic bid "if the city decides to make one".
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