Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, will not be the next MP for Croydon South.
That’s according to a report in tomorrow’s edition of The Spectator, the magazine that Johnson edited for six years, until 2005.
There has been some speculation that BoJo was scouting around for a safe Tory seat in the London area. For him to challenge to become the leader of the Conservative party, Johnson – whose term as Mayor of London runs until 2016 – would need to be an MP.
And Croydon South fits the bill, with the current MP, arch-expenses claimer Lord Bletchingley, having said he would retire before the 2015 general election.
But the usually well-informed (in matters Boris) Spectator report appears to scupper Johnson having any chance of succeeding David Cameron as the next Tory party leader if, as seems likely, “Call Me Dave” fails for a second time to win an outright majority for the Conservatives at a general election.
“The Mayor of London has told the Cameron circle that he will not seek to return to the Commons in a pre-2015 by-election, nor will he stand at the general election,” The Spectator reported on its website tonight.
Johnson, the magazine reported, “has told friends that he has no desire to spend three years serving under Cameron. He reasons that if Cameron loses, creating a Tory leadership vacancy, he’ll be able to persuade an MP to rapidly stand aside for him”.
The Spectator specifically mentions Richard Ottaway‘s seat: Conservative HQ “was distinctly concerned about the possibility of him standing in Croydon South”, they say.
Johnson’s decision could leave the way clear for the Home Secretary, Theresa May – the woman who once described the Conservatives as “the nasty party” – as the leading contender to replace Cameron.
Cameron’s leadership was today again the subject of damning criticism from a former party chairman, Lord Cashcroft, the one-time employer of Gavin Barwell, now the Croydon Central MP.
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