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.