There's an interesting piece by Benedict Brogan in
today's the Telegraph, claiming that Boris Johnson's reputation as a 'maverick' may not be what it seems.
The Mayor is known for going off-message with sideswipes about "Kosovo-style social cleansing" on housing benefit reforms, police budget cuts and Crossrail, but Brogan says a recent dinner between David Cameron and Johnson confirmed the Tories need a Boris win next year to boost their own prospects across the country.
Both sides recognise that to win, the Mayor must separate himself from the Prime Minister and even at times beard him. In the near daily exchanges of text messages between the three [Cameron, Johnson and George Osborne], there is an informal understanding that when Boris plans to go off the reservation, he will alert the high command.
Boris's approval ratings have been consistently good and even though a Guardian/ICM poll last week following the riots gave Johnson a score of -10 points, a YouGov poll on Londoners found his rating dropped to just -3 (the score is the difference between numbers of people approving and disapproving, so if more people disapprove the numbers are negative and vice versa). Clearly, the Mayor is still doing well among his core electorate.
Today's revelations aren't exactly high scheming and intrigue, but they're a fascinating little insight into backroom politics nonetheless.
Also covered by The Scoop, edit, pointed out below this is actually a month or so old, but was spotted today on the back of Boris's spat over policing cuts and the riots.