Rumours were swirling today that London Mayor Boris Johnson may stand for Parliament in the seat of Uxbridge at next year’s General Election. The London Evening Standard reports that current MP Sir John Russell announced earlier that he intends to retire at the next election, leaving the seat open for Mr Johnson, who is known to harbour ambitions of returning to parliament.
The seat is seen as ideal for the Mayor as it has a strong Conservative majority, and local party activists are highly enthusiastic about the prospect of having him as their candidate.
Johnson formerly represented Henley in the House of Commons before resigning his seat after being elected to the mayoralty in 2008. His second term expires in 2016, one year after the general election, and it remains unknown whether he desires a third.
His record as Mayor of London means he is spoken of as a potential future successor to David Cameron as Conservative Party leader, and possibly Prime Minister too, although this would be impossible without a seat in the House of Commons.
The seat of Uxbridge could be ideal for Mr Johnson as it lies within Greater London and it has a safe Conservative majority – 11,216 at the last election.
The Conservative leader of the local borough council today praised Mr Johnson as an “honest politician” who would be “well received” by many residents, while another councillor said local party members would be “over the moon” if Mr Johnson decided to run in the seat.
The Mayor’s official spokesman tried to play down the rumours, however, saying: “The Mayor is focused on one thing: delivering on his second term commitments for London – the continued creation of jobs and growth, the provision of new housing to meet growing demand, and the further reduction of crime in the city.”
It is unlikely that a more suitable seat will open up for Mr Johnson between now and the General Election, with most other London constituencies having already selected their candidates.
An unnamed senior Conservative MP told the Standard: “His options are closing down quite a lot. It’s getting close to make or break time for him.”