Boris Johnson talks during a campaign rally on May 21, 2014 in Ealing. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Boris can be mayor and an MP - but could he really be mayor and Tory leader?

Johnson's pledge to serve a full term leaves him in a difficult position if the Tories are defeated in 2015. 

Boris Johnson's deceptively humble announcement that he will "try to find somewhere to stand in 2015" (his search, one suspects, won't be in vain) finally brings an end to the will-he-won't-he saga of recent years. 

Boris's allies have long argued that he could wear two hats at the same time, as Ken Livingstone did when he remained the MP for Brent East during his first year as mayor. But should the Tories be defeated at the general election, with Boris standing in the subsequent leadership election (his principal motivation for returning), the situation becomes more difficult. 

To many, it is inconceivable that he could serve as both Conservative leader and Mayor of London. One option would have been to stand down before the end of his term in May 2016, but Boris today pledged to remain at City Hall for a full four years. Unless any leadership contest is delayed, he will struggle to justify wearing three hats (Mayor, MP and Conservative leader). For this reason, Boris's ideal scenario may actually be a Tory victory in 2015 followed by Cameron departing after the in/out EU referendum in 2017. 

Then again, what are promises from him anyway? (As he puts it, "My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it".) Provided that any Conservative leadership election is delayed until six months before the end of his term, his deputy will take over and a costly by-election will be avoided. 

For now, however, the Mayor is giving nothing away. Asked today whether he wanted to return to parliament to become Conservative leader, he replied: 

No, what I said was … I'll revert to the kind of weasel mode here … What I said was, you've got party conference coming up in two months' time, you can't have this thing going on endlessly. Let's go back to Europe. I've said what I have to say. It may all go wrong but the likelihood is I am going to have to give it a crack.

Boris won't say he'll stand for the Tory leadership is the new Boris won't say he'll stand as an MP. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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After a year of chaos, MPs from all parties are trying to stop an extreme Brexit

The Greens are calling for a cross-party commission on Brexit.

One year ago today, I stood on Westminster Bridge as the sun rose over a changed country. By a narrow margin, on an unexpectedly high turnout, a majority of people in Britain had chosen to leave the EU. It wasn’t easy for those of us on the losing side – especially after such scaremongering from the leaders of the Leave campaign – but 23 June 2016 showed the power of a voting opportunity where every vote counted.

A year on from the vote, and the process is in chaos. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. The Leave campaign deliberately never spelled out any detailed plan for Brexit, and senior figures fought internal battles over which model they preferred. One minute Britain would be like Norway, then we’d be like Canada – and then we’d be unique. After the vote Theresa May promised us a "Red, White and Blue Brexit" – and then her ministers kept threatening the EU with walking away with no deal at all which, in fairness, would be unique(ly) reckless. 

We now have our future being negotiated by a government who have just had their majority wiped out. More than half of voters opted for progressive parties at the last election – yet the people representing us in Brussels are the right-wing hardliners David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson.

Despite widespread opposition, the government has steadfastly refused to unilaterally guarantee EU citizens their rights. This week it has shown its disregard for the environment as it published a Queen’s Speech with no specific plans for environmental protection in the Brexit process either. 

Amid such chaos there is, however, a glimmer of hope. MPs from all parties are working together to stop an extreme Brexit. Labour’s position seems to be softening, and it looks likely that the Scottish Parliament will have a say on the final deal too. The Democratic Unionist Party is regressive in many ways, but there’s a good chance that the government relying on it will soften Brexit for Northern Ireland, at least because of the DUP's insistence on keeping the border with Ireland open. My amendments to the Queen’s speech to give full rights to EU nationals and create an Environmental Protection Act have cross-party support.

With such political instability here at home – and a growing sense among the public that people deserve a final say on any deal - it seems that everything is up for grabs. The government has no mandate for pushing ahead with an extreme Brexit. As the democratic reformers Unlock Democracy said in a recent report “The failure of any party to gain a majority in the recent election has made the need for an inclusive, consensus based working even more imperative.” The referendum should have been the start of a democratic process, not the end of one.

That’s why Greens are calling for a cross-party commission on Brexit, in order to ensure that voices from across the political spectrum are heard in the process. And it’s why we continue to push for a ratification referendum on the final deal negotiated by the government - we want the whole country to have the last word on this, not just the 650 MPs elected to the Parliament via an extremely unrepresentative electoral system.

No one predicted what would happen over the last year. From the referendum, to Theresa May’s disastrous leadership and a progressive majority at a general election. And no one knows exactly what will happen next. But what’s clear is that people across this country should be at the centre of the coming debate over our future – it can’t be stitched up behind closed doors by ministers without a mandate.

Caroline Lucas is the MP for Brighton Pavilion.

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