Boris finally ends the speculation about his future. If only…
Boris Johnson finally confirmed today that he will run for Parliament at next year’s general election, acknowledging that “I can’t endlessly go on dodging these questions as I’ve tried to do.”
Being Boris of course he was unable to make the announcement without his trademark amount of hedging, saying only that “in all probability I will try to find somewhere to stand in 2015” and adding that “you should never underestimate the possibility of things going badly wrong but I will try.”
Enjoying the sun in Portugal this week, David Cameron will take some small comfort that Boris has finally made his decision. However, if the Prime Minister thinks the speculation about Boris’ future will now dissipate, he is likely to be disappointed. The speculation now shifts to where Boris might stand – John Randall’s seat in Uxbridge, which he is vacating in 2015, is one option as is the prime constituency of Kensington which many expect Sir Malcolm Rifkind to relinquish next year.
Speculation about Boris’ leadership ambitions will also get a fresh run out with columnists across the media desperately trying to find a fresh angle on one of Westminster’s longest running soap operas. And despite the polls and media narrative there is still a reasonable chance that Cameron and the Conservatives will win next year’s general election – what then? Trying to picture what role Boris would play in a Cameron Cabinet is difficult to say the least – perhaps a John Prescott-style super department, covering transport, local government and cities policy, would be a sufficient holding pen for him (though no matter how big the job it is hard to picture Boris staying on message for long).
It’s also worth bearing in mind Boris’ previous, underwhelming stint as a Shadow Minister and his lack of allies on the backbenches. All that we can say for sure is that today’s announcement will do little to stop the Boris-media bandwagon.