Boris Rules Out MP Bid If Re-Elected

Photo by sinister pictures

Boris Johnson has ruled out any possibility of standing for election as an MP – if he’s re-elected as London’s mayor in 2012.

The blond one has frequently been tipped as a potential Tory leader or even a challenger to David Cameron’s title of PM, but his appointment as mayor of London seemed to put paid to that. At least it did until Ken Livingstone emerged as a strong mayoral candidate. Boris’s pledge to put London before any parliamentary ambitions could be viewed as a demonstration of his commitment to the mayoral race but the flip side could be interpreted as an early warning in the event he loses out to Ken.

Boris has often clashed with the PM over his excursions from the Tory line; as recently as this week’s party conference he appeared to support a referendum on Europe – just hours after Cameron had ruled it out. He has since said that his comments on the matter were purely hypothetical. The mayor also used his speech at the conference to advise against transport cuts for political gain.

Fellow mayoral candidate Brian Paddick remained unimpressed:

‘Boris Johnson’s speech was full of waffle because he’s done so little for London as mayor.’

Ouch.

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  • Dean Nicholas

    Ken Livingstone as a “strong” mayoral candidate? Don’t think so. Poll-wise, it’s the incumbent’s to lose. Even the link you provided has Boris handily beating his rival.

    • BethPH

      He’s certainly a stronger candidate than any of the others. That link was more to demonstrate that they were fairly close in the polls.

      • Dean Nicholas

        Well obviously he’s a stronger candidate than the others — the Tory and Labour candidates took 78% of the first-preferences vote between them in 2008. But there’s not really any way he can be called a strong candidate at the moment.  A lot can change between now and May (the mayor’s reaction to the riots, for example, was a huge mis-step) but for now it doesn’t appear likely that Boris will lose.

        They’re not close in the polls at all. A seven point lead for Boris at this point is huge, particularly when you consider the general unpopularity of the Conservative / Lib Dem government. This is London, where Labour are traditionally stronger than the Tories. Yet Ken can’t seem to make any headway. One in five Labour voters plan to vote for Boris. Livingstone has gone from being a major asset to Labour (his win in 2004 came at a time when Labour was taking a drubbing everywhere else, and as mayor his opinion poll ratings always outperformed the party’s) to being a huge problem for them and actually underperforming the party in terms of city-wide poll ratings.

        • BethPH

          But without wishing to be pedantic – the gap between Ken and Boris is way smaller than between Ken and the Lib Dems – though I’d be interested to see if Paddick makes any more headway. The problem with Ken is that lately he’s coming across as just knee-jerk disagreeing with everything Boris does. His promise to cut fares by 5% was pretty misjudged too, IMO. Though I do wonder if, when it comes down to actual votes, people will make a snap decision to go with Ken based on their inherent distrust of the Tories.

          • Dean Nicholas

            Not wishing to repeat myself, but I think you’re missing the key point, which is: the Lib Dems are not in this race. Ken and Boris took 78% between them first round in 2008; expect a similar level next year. It’s irrelevant how close Ken is to Brian Paddick, all that matters is how he ranks against Johnson. To beat the incumbent the challenger needs to be consistently polling ahead of his rival all the way up to election day: this is what happened four years ago, with Boris establishing a crucial poll lead and hanging onto to it all the way through. To be 7 points behind is pretty terrible. A lot can change once the campaigns really get underway, but Ken needs to come up with a new strategy, fast. In terms of trust, the YouGov poll from earlier this year reveals that people find Johnson the more honest of the two. And he’s largely managed to avoid the stigma associated with his party, no doubt helped by those staged “fights” he sporadically has with the PM. People are more likely to “inherently distrust” Livingstone, particularly when the memories of the often odious way he conducted himself during his second term are still fresh.