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Why Boris won't stand in Sir Peter Tapsell's seat

If the Mayor returns to parliament in 2015, he will need a London seat.

If the Mayor returns to parliament in 2015, he will need a London seat.
Boris Johnson speaks at the Conservative conference in Manchester last year. Photograph: Getty Images.

The coincidence of Peter Tapsell announcing that he's standing down at the next election with David Cameron encouraging Boris Johnson to run for parliament in 2015 (and a coincidence it is; Tapsell has been planning to stand down for months) has led some to suggest that the mayor could be in line to inherit his constituency. It was the Father of the House (Tapsell is 84) himself who started the rumour when Tory MPs overheard him telling David Cameron that he was "keeping his seat warm" for Johnson.

Tapsell, however, later confirmed to a Conservative parliamentary meeting that the remark was intended as a joke. And while Louth and Horncastle has many attractive features (not least a Tory majority of 13,871), it is too far from London for Johnson. If he chooses to serve in parliament while still in City Hall (as Ken Livingstone did when he remained MP for Brent East until 2001), he will need a seat in the capital to pull the juggling act off. And as Tapsell himself said, "My seat is a long way from the TV studios. Boris would want to be closer to them."