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Matt K

Absolutely right, but very difficult to achieve. Boris' strength in a Mayoral contest is his wide cross-party appeal; Livingstone (inexplicably) has it, and offering a candidate with similar appeal seems to be the only way to beat him. What will be difficult for Boris is to show his serious side without it appearing to be a) false, and a temporary and unconvincing display to make him electable; and b) contrary to his current appeal. Would serious, statesman Boris lose the cross-party electability that Buffoon Boris has?

If he pulls it off, this could be a master-stroke, if not, it could backfire for Boris and the party.


Very perceptive article. It is a huge opportunity for both Boris and the Party.

If/when he stands in the party selection contest, he should make it a major plank to draw in many of the other (serious) candidates to flesh out his vision and policies - so his campaign gains from the serious thought about London issues that many of them have put in over a much longer period than Boris has been thinking about this. I am thinking particularly of people like Warwick Lightfoot, Victoria Borwick and Andrew Boff; also the GLA member team. That way it is more than just "the Boris show" and from them he might then be able to draw a chief of staff to do much of the heavy lifting if he wins. He can also be the Shadow London spokesman in the House from his selection, a platform that KL no longer has.

We need "Team Boris" for London, not just Boris. If this all came together a lot of us in London would be campaigning for that election as we have never campaigned before. At the very least, it could give KL a hell of a fright.

Kevin Davis

Good post Stephan - cuts to the heart of the Boris issue.

Ken has turned the mayoralty into show business and our problem is that we have no one who can do show business. Boris could, but before people tick the box they are going to think "I like the man but can he run London?".

In some respects it is a metaphor for the wider party as a general election approaches. "We like DC, but can he run the country?".


Go on. Take a risk. Brown is mr safety play. so boring. we need a bit of boris to liven up the show. he must realise it's make or break time.


Bang on Stephan. Perhaps real political responsibility will make a man of him and convert 'Just William' into Prince Hal.
I do like Londoner's suggestion of Team Boris, especially the inclusion of Warwick Lightfoot.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing the financial backing behind ConservativeHome (and I believe 18 Doughty Street)
Best wishes


What I want to know is what BJ would do for Londoners. Too much of the discussion is focused on Mr J's personality. That is not enough for me.


Not sure exactly how the Mayor system works but if the candidate will be running with a deputy there could be a great chance to pair Boris with a serious minded 'CEO' type candidate. I agree with Londoner that we should be looking at the team that Boris will be leading rather than his persona, that team could and should include a safe pair of hands. With that combination we would be unbeatable.


I think it would be wonderful if we had a Mayor who in most ways would not 'do' anything for Londoners except leave them alone to get on with things.

We would also welcome a Mayor who does not 'do' spending our money so lavishly on Communists, terrorists, special advisers, foreign offices, bureaucracy and 'parties'.

I love Boris, and if he demonstrates that he could just control the clown in him, not kill it, and can discipline himself, politically and personally, then we could win.


London is probably the only city that Bojo hasn't rubbished to date,he would be perfect for the job!

Chris Palmer

Clowns belong in the circus, not City Hall.

Simon Mallett

Get real - Boris is great fun and very entertaining but a leopard doesn't change his spots.

Sally Roberts

I think Boris would be excellent! I remember being "shouted down" some time back when LBC's Nick Ferrari was contemplating standing and I thought he would be suitably charismatic....since then I'd despaired of us finding a "big" enough character but I think Boris certainly fits the bill - bring him on!

Shakespeare for Mayor?

Stephan himself would be a more credible candidate. As a successful entrepreneur and funder in online polling and politics, he would be a strong candidate.

Name recognition would not be a problem, especially as The Globe is close to City Hall.

Are you up for it, Stephan?


This is either very brave or very stupid. A decision that Sir Humphrey would call "courageous".

I think BoJo (great name) has a good chance of beating Livingscum. But he would have to give up his Parliamentary seat. London Mayor is not a part time job and to put up a candidate as a part time Mayor is a non starter and instantly gives Livingspart a massive campaigning advantage.

Although he could give up his seat only if he gets elected it initially still sends the wrong message to the voters of London. It sounds like he is hedging his bets and therefore lacks the confidence in his own ability to win.

Does BoJo want to be that courageous?

enough said?

Er, this is an article by someone who thought Jeffrey Archer was a great candidate for London Mayor. Enough said?

Henry Mayhew - ukipper

Don't agree there is any need for a personality change or tone down. Boris would unify support across the whole conservative spectrum. With the Lib Dems doing so poorly he might well win. His humour makes him less 'offensive' to lefties who may vote for him purely to have the entertainment of having him around.

Perfect as he is. Also agree we need Warwick Lightfoot and Victoria Borwick on board. Both absolutely outstanding individuals.

Tony Sharp

Elsewhere some people have said Boris would have to quit his seat in order to run for Mayor. Correct me if I am wrong, but did not Frank Dobson remain as an MP while contesting the first Mayoral election for Labour?


Provided his Association are co-operative, there's no reason why Boris could not remain an MP whilst campaigning, with a promise to stand down if successful.

Henley's not that far from London, and if an MP can cope with the additional responsibilities of being a Minister or even PM, why couldn't he cope with being a Mayoral candidate for 6 months?

Henry Mayhew - ukipper

Would love to know the story behind this. Do youngish Conservative MPs agree to stand down as MP for Henley for a possibly short-term post?

Boris's relationship with the truth seems to be going through a difficult patch again as he denies DC's encouragement. We all have our little flaws. Overall, he will be great. Nobody minds.

John Simpson

The brilliant conservative writer Andrew Sullivan has, in his Sunday Times column on the last election, the best take on Boris:

"The Tories were sub-Dole. The failure of Labour allowed them to pick up seats and
become, once again, a serious opposition party. But that is all they still are: an
opposition with a pathetic 33% of the vote.

"The calibre of their spokesmen also needs looking at. I was astonished, as someone
removed from British politics for a long while, to find that one of the party’s media
stars is Boris Johnson. I knew Boris two decades ago and played an infinitesimal part
in helping him advance in student politics. And there he was on the BBC, a Tory star,
performing the same pathetic schtick he had deployed at university 20 years ago.

"After all this time, I expected perhaps a new maturity, a sense of what he believed in. But he’s still a preposterous, if amusing, ra-ra playing a preposterous, if amusing, rara. My American friends asked about the hair. I explained it’s a prop, the kind of thing a TV personality deploys to cover a lack of material. How, I wonder, can a British voter take seriously a party that presents him as a spokesman?"



If he stands, he should say that he committed to the electors of Henley to serve them for this Parliament and therefore, provided his constituency party agreed (which, if he has any sense, he is about to establish right now), if he becomes Mayor he would serve out this Parliament. He would commit to give up his journalism (other than articles specifically on the Mayoralty), therefore leaving this well-known multi-tasker with as much time to serve his Henley constituents as before.

He would undertake after becoming Mayor to assess whether it was advantageous for London for the Mayor to have a direct voice in Parliament in order to join with London MPs in demanding proper and fair fiscal treatment of London. If he came to that conclusion, he would the discuss with Henley before the next General Election whether it would be more appropriate for him to continue in Henley or to seek a London seat.

His general line would be that if the Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequor and Foreign Secretary can also do perfectly good jobs as constituency members of Parliament, it is not self-evident why the Mayor couldn't either, particularly as he will have such an excellent team backing him up in Warwick Lightfoot, Victoria Borwick etc.


You are kidding ? So Labour gets not one but TWO electoral occasions to bring out the Jeunesse Bullingdone'e photo. Great idea.

You don't get to play the unmitigated privileged buffoon for 45 years without actually BEING one.

And is he as brainy as he likes to put about under the buffoonery? Public schoolboys with an average brain can be crammed to get into Oxford - it's no proof of anything in their case. His journalistic pieces are totally superficial (not even funny really - just a constant repetition of (slight) variations on the theme of 'Look at me I'm an MP but I'm not taking myself seriously!') - sort of sub-parody of the Private Eye take-offs with none of the perceptive insight that you get from (for example) Matthew Parris (who is actually a lot funnier as well as being more serious).

[Now there's a thought....]

Alan T

'Stephan Shakespeare, owner of ConservativeHome.com'

Did I miss something? Since when?

Boris for Mayor! :P

Marcia Evans

I don't think a personality change from Mr. Johnson is very likely. Let's get a candidate who can take the job seriously.


I think Boris would have a good chance of winning.
Boris supporters can visit www.boris4mayor.blogspot.com and get their own Boris button for their blog or website.

James Ford

I think MayorWatch has it right:

"Londoners Lose If the Tories Run Boris For Mayor

The BBC’s Nick Robinson reports that Tory chiefs are talking up Boris Johnson as potential candidate for Mayor of London.

The suggestion has previously been made by some party activists on Conservative Home where it’s often dismissed as unrealistic - and for good reason.

Boris is a lot of fun on his gameshow appearances and my suspicion has long been that the buffoon-like persona is just a carefully crafted act to help him stand out from the crowd but either way it’s too embeded in the public psyche to make him a credible candidate for such a large job.

Anyone who thinks incumbent Ken Livingstone is sometimes irresponsible in his utterances is hardly going to find what they’re looking for in Boris.

Increasingly it seems the Cameron project will fail to offer Londoners a candidate likely to pose a credible alternative to Mr Livingstone - if this proves to be the case the public, who are entitled at every election to have a choice between equally credible candidates, will be the losers.

This failure also reflects badly on Cameron’s desire for the voters to see him as a realistic candidate for PM - if he can’t attract viable candidates for such a powerful role what does it say about the makeup of any future Cameron cabinet?"


anthony scholefield

The same people who supported Jeffrey Archer and for the same reason-well known chap,eh-gets on with man in the street eh!-considerable brain behind the buffoonery eh!-have supported Johnson. And what scandals will erupt in the serene marital affairs of Johnson once chosen.

Charles Kershaw

Oh, yes, Boris, the parliamentary candidate in 2001 who oh so loyally punted the Spectator interview with Edward Heath as Heath attacks Hague as "laughing stock" in the middle of a general election campaign.

Ripper! Bonza! Wot Wot. Get lost Boris.

Graham Fielding

Boris the Clown for Have I Got News For You. Someone serious for London Mayor, please!!!

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