Boris Johnson has announced he will stand as an MP in May 2015.
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Where will Boris stand as an MP?

Boris appears to have at least five good options.

Boris Johnson is returning to the Commons in 2015.

I haven’t got any particular seat lined up but I do think that in all probability… I will try to find somewhere to stand in 2015.”

So where might he stand? Many lists have been made and unmade in the past five years as Boris dithered – and the bookies are now frantically re-drawing their odds.

Just in the past month three seats have been sown up. We now know Boris won’t be standing in North West Hampshire, Hornchurch and Westminster, and Louth and Horncastle.

His deputy mayor Kit Malthouse was chosen to replace the retiring Sir George Young in the first, Dame Angela Watkinson was recently re-selected in the second, and an open primary just decided the candidate in the third.

But there are five seats that look like strong possibilities:

Uxbridge and South Ruislip

Tory majority: 24.9 per cent
How “safe”: 110th safest 
Distance from City Hall: 20.2 miles (59 minute drive)

While a few seats escaped in July, the peripheral London seat of Uxbridge became Boris’s best option last month when its MP, John Randall, announced he was stepping down.

Randall won the redrawn seat by 24.9 per cent in 2010, and the party has held Uxbridge since 1970, which the pollster Anthony Wells has described as "middle-of-the-road suburbia, hidden away at the end at the far end of the Metropolitan line".

The seat could allow him to serve out his second term as London Mayor, as he committed to doing when he won in 2012. This wouldn’t be without precedent – Ken Livingstone spent 13 months as MP for Brent East after becoming London mayor in May 2000.

The constituency association is reportedly looking to select a candidate by mid-September, which would fit with the Tory leadership’s hope that Boris doesn’t distract the party conference later that month.


Tory majority: 37.3 per cent
How “safe”: 13th safest
Distance from City Hall: 16.4 miles (62 minute drive)

Uxbridge is a safe seat, but Hertsmere is one of the safest Tory seats in the country. Only 12 other seats returned larger majorities in 2010.

The seat also became available last month, when James Clappison stepped down – apparently at the behest of his local association. If they were looking for a more high-profile MP, after 23 years of Clappison’s quiet localism, Boris could be their man.

The long-serving Thatcherite minister Cecil Parkinson held the seat throughout the 1980s. Selecting Boris would bring the area national stature once again.


Tory majority: 37.3 per cent
How “safe”: 13th safest
Distance from City Hall: 6.8 miles (43 minute drive)

There is no firm indication that Kensington’s MP, Sir Malcom Rifkind, is willing to stand down, but Kensington would certainly be the ideal seat for Johnson.

Kensington – as safe a seat as Uxbridge – takes in Boris’ cultural hinterland of High Street Kensington, Knightsbridge and Notting Hill, and would be a short trip away from City Hall.

Richmond Park

Tory majority: 6.9 per cent
How “safe”: 250th safest
Distance from City Hall: 10.5 miles (57 minute drive)

Zac Goldsmith only won the leafy London seat in 2010, but rumours have often circulated that he would be willing to step aside for Boris.

The seat look less safe than others, but the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to pose anything like the threat they did in 2010, when Goldsmith still won the seat by nearly 7 per cent.

Johnson may find the seat sleepy in comparison to the bustle of Kensington, but he would still be relatively close to City Hall and Westminster.

South Cambridgeshire

Tory majority: 13.3 per cent
How “safe”: 193rd safest
Distance from City Hall: 67.7 miles (141 minute drive)

Andrew Lansley currently occupies the seat, but he is stepping down at the next election in pursuit of an “international” role.

David Cameron passed him over for EU Commissioner, but Lansley was his boss in the early 1990s, when the Prime Minister was a young staffer in the Conservative Research Department. 

Either way, his Cambridgeshire seat appears open to Boris, although it would leave him well out of London and make his bid to continue as Mayor until 2016 all the more impractical.


Seat data provided by May 2015 — launching this September. Distance and driving times according to Google Maps.


Harry Lambert was the editor of May2015, the New Statesman's election website.

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Jeremy Corbyn challenged by Labour MPs to sack Ken Livingstone from defence review

Former mayor of London criticised at PLP meeting over comments on 7 July bombings. 

After Jeremy Corbyn's decision to give Labour MPs a free vote over air strikes in Syria, tonight's Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting was less fractious than it could have been. But one grandee was still moved to declare that the "ferocity" of the attacks on the leader made it the most "uplifting" he had attended.

Margaret Beckett, the former foreign secretary, told the meeting: "We cannot unite the party if the leader's office is determined to divide us." Several MPs said afterwards that many of those who shared Corbyn's opposition to air strikes believed he had mishandled the process by appealing to MPs over the heads of the shadow cabinet and then to members. David Winnick declared that those who favoured military action faced a "shakedown" and deselection by Momentum activists. "It is completely unacceptable. They are a party within a party," he said of the Corbyn-aligned group. The "huge applause" for Hilary Benn, who favours intervention, far outweighed that for the leader, I'm told. 

There was also loud agreement when Jack Dromey condemned Ken Livingstone for blaming Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq for the 7 July 2005 bombings. Along with Angela Smith MP, Dromey demanded that Livingstone be sacked as the co-chair of Labour's defence review. Significantly, Benn said aftewards that he agreed with every word Dromey had said. Corbyn's office has previously said that it is up to the NEC, not the leader, whether the former London mayor holds the position. In reference to 7 July, an aide repeated Corbyn's statement that he preferred to "remember the brilliant words Ken used after 7/7". 

As on previous occasions, MPs complained that the leader failed to answer the questions that were put to him. A shadow minister told me that he "dodged" one on whether he believed the UK should end air strikes against Isis in Iraq. In reference to Syria, a Corbyn aide said afterwards that "There was significant support for the leader. There was a wide debate, with people speaking on both sides of the arguments." After David Cameron's decision to call a vote on air strikes for Wednesday, leaving only a day for debate, the number of Labour MPs backing intervention is likely to fall. One shadow minister told me that as few as 40-50 may back the government, though most expect the total to be closer to the original figure of 99. 

At the end of another remarkable day in Labour's history, a Corbyn aide concluded: "It was always going to be a bumpy ride when you have a leader who was elected by a large number outside parliament but whose support in the PLP is quite limited. There are a small number who find it hard to come to terms with that result."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.