Cameron clears the way for Boris to return as an MP

The PM reveals for the first time that he has discussed the possibility of the Mayor returning to the Commons in 2015 and says that he "absolutely" could do so.

It's Boris Day at the Conservative conference and after the Mayor spent the weekend stoking speculation that he plans to return to the Commons in 2015, David Cameron was inevitably asked abut the blonde one on the Today programme this morning.

For the first time, he revealed that he had spoken to Boris about the possibility of him standing as an MP and said that he "absolutely" could do so. He added that the Mayor was a "massive asset to the county and the Conservative Party" but that "this is all dependent on what Boris wants to do." Lest there be any confusion, however, he ended: "we're quite well-aligned if I can put it that way". With this intervention, Cameron has cleverly sought to take control of the story to avoid speculation that Boris could return being used to undermine his position.

As for Boris, he did his bit to fuel the rumours on last night's Newsnight responding to the question "Can you be MP and Mayor of London at the same time?" by musing: "I think John Wilkes was..."

But the Mayor needn't have looked that far back for a precedent. As he will know, after the 2000 mayoral election, Ken Livingstone remained the MP for Brent East until 2001. There is no constitutional obstacle to Boris similarly combining the two roles. And judging by his and Cameron's language, he is ever more likely to do so.

David Cameron chats with Boris Johnson at Battersea Power Station in London on July 4, 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Anatomy of a crisis: the facts on Europe’s refugees

What are the true figures on the crisis – and how many asylum seekers are countries taking?

How many refugees have countries offered resettlement to?

 

With 35,000 refugees offered resettlement, Germany is leading Europe in accepting displaced Syrians. Britain has so far taken in 187.

How many people are applying for asylum in the EU?

In the year ending June 2015, there have been 755,000 applications for asylum to the EU. In July, there were 37,531 to Germany alone.

How many asylum applications are there to the UK?

The UK ranks seventh in terms of the total number of asylum applications. 41% of applications recieve a positive decision.

How many refugees are being hosted by countries in the Middle East?

Turkey has taken in the most refugees, with 2,000,000 Syrians in the country.

How does the EU response to Syrian refugees compare to other nationalities of refugee?

This article first appeared in the 03 September 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Pope of the masses

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