current affairs

Is Boris Johnson a serious candidate for Prime Minister?

As the Olympics reached their conclusion, many have been commenting on the future of London’s Mayor Boris Johnson.

As the Olympics reached their conclusion, many have been commenting on the future of London’s Mayor Boris Johnson. Johnson was entering the third month of his second term as mayor, having been re-elected in May, and some MPs and donors to the party, according to a BBC report, wondered whether he should enter Parliament to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron.

Cameron, in an interview with the ITV programme Daybreak, said that Johnson is a titan in the Conservative Party, according to a BBC report of the interview. Cameron added that Johnson had “a lot more to give the country”. “I want Boris to be as ambitious as possible. He’s a fantastic London Mayor,” Cameron said. “I want to see people go from national politics into being city mayors. I want to see city mayors go into national politics. I welcome the fact that I’ve got, in Boris Johnson, a great Mayor of London, a great titan in my party and someone who I think has got a lot more to give the country.”

Polls also indicate Johnson’s favorability as a successor to Cameron. According to a report from The Guardian, a YouGov poll which ran in the Sun put Johnson to win compared to Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

However, if Johnson was to run for the post of party leader, he would face some difficulties. In a piece on the political web site Progress Online, Simon Griffiths, a lecturer at Goldsmiths University of London, said in order to win re-election as Mayor of London, he had to go against the nationwide unpopularity of the Conservatives. “His party trailed Labour nationally by seven per cent after two months of bad headlines, including a calamitous budget, a party funding scandal, double-dip recession and the Leveson inquiry,” Griffiths wrote. “Yet Johnson won as a Conservative in a left-leaning city. Meanwhile, David Cameron is increasingly seen as out of touch, described by one of his own backbenchers as a posh boy who doesn’t know the price of milk.” Griffiths added that if he were to get a seat in the 2015 general election an inability to get a strong support base would be absent.

Dr. Matthew Ashton, a lecturer in politics at Nottingham Trent University, told Kettle that Johnson would have to face a long list of controversies that he had endured in the past, including an expenses scandal in 2009. “The only reason he’s survived this long is his support amongst the public and the fact that journalists love him,” Ashton said. “He provides good ‘copy’ as they say, and in a world of professional politicians that might as well be clones he’s a refreshing change. However if he made a serious bid to become Tory leader I expect that all of his previous scandals would come under fresh scrutiny. The British press love building people up, but love it even more when they can knock them down again.”

However, despite all of the talk, Johnson has ruled out becoming a successor to Cameron, in an interview with ITV according to reports. “No, of course not, because I have got four years of mayor of London ahead, perhaps this is the moment to knock this once and for all on the head?” Johnson said. “I am Mayor of London and my cup runs over, and plus, we have got the Paralympics and they are going to be fantastic too. I think it is inconceivable that I am going to be Prime Minister. At the moment, I certainly don’t want to be prime minister.”