Speculation is now rife that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will return to Parliament. Earlier this week David Cameron indication he wanted the Boris “as part of the team”, and said he was comfortable with the Mayors naked ambition to lead the Conservative Party.
Boris is now widely expected to seek the Conservative nomination for Sir Peter Tapsell’s seat, Louth and Horncastle. At 84 Tapsell is Father of the House, a title held by the longest serving MP. He was first elected in a by-election in 1959, and had been overheard saying that he was “keeping the seat warm for Boris”.
Tapsell’s Lincolnshire seat is not perfect for Johnson as it is outside London. Boris would need to spend a year as both an MP and London Mayor, however the seat is ultra-safe, and would require little work to retain it at the General Election.
Also the fact that David Cameron wants Boris back will boost his chances. The Prime Minister said: “I want him to get back in Parliament. I think he’s great. It’s a bit like football – if you have got a great striker you want him on the pitch.
“It’s up to him. He can complete as Mayor, or he can stay on as Mayor and come back to the House.”
Friends of Boris Johnson have privately said that the Prime Minister’s intervention has all but guaranteed his return to Parliament.
The move is in the interests of both men, it binds Boris to the leadership which is good for Cameron. However, only MPs can lead the Conservative Party, so taking the seat would qualify Boris to challenge Cameron after the 2015 election.
In all likelihood a General Election win would make Cameron hard to challenge, whereas if he loses he will probably resign as party leader anyway.