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EXCLUSIVE: Boris Johnson will not be standing in 2015

31 July 2013

2:55 PM

31 July 2013

2:55 PM

Boris Johnson will not stand for parliament at the next election, The Spectator understands. The Mayor of London has told the Cameron circle that he will not seek to return to the Commons in a pre-2015 by-election, nor will he stand at the general election.

Boris’s decision not to be a candidate in 2015 indicates that he expects Cameron still to be Prime Minister and party leader after the general election. He has told friends that he has no desire to spend three years serving under Cameron. He reasons that if Cameron loses, creating a Tory leadership vacancy, he’ll be able to persuade an MP to rapidly stand aside for him.


The news that Boris is not standing in 2015 will come as a relief to Cameron’s allies. It removes one potential general election distraction; CCHQ was distinctly concerned about the possibility of him standing in Croydon South. They’ll also be reassured that Boris now thinks Cameron is likely to end up back in Downing Street.

Boris expects to be facing Theresa May in a future leadership contest. As tomorrow’s Spectator puts it:

‘The Home Office is meant to be a political morgue. Yet, May has used the position to transform her political reputation. When Cameron gave her the job in May 2010, she wasn’t known for much more than having told the Tories that they were seen as “the nasty party”. Today, however, she is the Home Secretary who finally kicked Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada out of the country. She is the politician who has started to get a grip on immigration and the one who has dared to take on the last great unreformed public service, the police force. This run of successes has seen her eclipse Boris as the bookies’ favourite for next Tory leader.’ 

Read more about Boris and the Tory leadership in tomorrow’s Spectator. Subscribe from just £1 a week here.

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Show comments
  • El_Sid

    The Home Office is meant to be a political morgue.

    It’s not the HO of old though is it? Much of the really toxic stuff was offloaded with the creation of Justice in 2007 – see how Clarke and Grayling have struggled.

    I wouldn’t regard the Abu Qatada story as any kind of positive – the final result was completely overshadowed by the process by which it was achieved.

  • ROUCynic

    They are fighting for Leader of the Opposition – who cares who wins?

  • Red Baron

    Only David Davis can lead the Conservatives. May and Gove are too close to Cameron therefore they would put voters off. This country needs a strong leader with gravitas like Thatcher.

  • thanksdellingpole

    Here’s my analysis: UKIP.

  • antondarby

    Boris Bunter. I say, crikey, leave off you chaps!

  • john

    Boris: Evelyn called – Can he use you in “Decline and Fall”?

  • Smithersjones2013

    ‘The Home Office is meant to be a political morgue. Yet, May has
    used the position to transform her political reputation. When Cameron
    gave her the job in May 2010, she wasn’t known for much more than having
    told the Tories that they were seen as “the nasty party”. Today,
    however, she is the Home Secretary who finally kicked Abu Hamza and Abu
    Qatada out of the country. She is the politician who has started to get a
    grip on immigration and the one who has dared to take on the last great
    unreformed public service, the police force.

    I’ll have whatever the author of that is smoking. I could do with being detached from reality for a little while.

    Do they seriously think finally ending the woeful tale of Abu Qatada (who eventually just gave up and went home) is something to crow about. May claimed wrongly half a dozen times that she’d got rid of him only to be thwarted by the courts each time just like every other failed Home Secretary and her so called success with Immigration is based on a counting process (a poll) which has been described as not fit for purpose and has a statistical error so large that it is within the margin of error that net immigration could still be rising and the dummies in the dysfunctional Home Office wouldn’t know (just as they didn’t know about those 500,000 immigrants between 2004 and 2011). Frankly May’s failure to get to grips with the massive flaws in the immigration system are clear to see.

    As for the police all she has done is manage to get booed by them just as Jacqui Smith did and presided over the exposure of the worst police corruption in living memory. Even the reductions in crime figures are dubious (given they seem to ignore the new Fraud Agency). I won’t even dwell on the immigrant’s cat incident.

    Seriously if they seriously think that May’s mediocre and spotty performance at the Home Office suggests leadership qualities then all I can say is that the Tory Party is in severe trouble, May’s survival there is only because everyone now knows the Home Office is dysfunctional and is hamstrung by its own poltically crass equality agenda. When the regular Home Office cock-ups occur these days people just shrug and think ‘Another Home Office cock-up Go figure’……….

    PS And Johnson is just being considerate of Cameron’s attempts to stay in power and ensuring he Johnson is not cast in a poor light. It says nothing of what he expects might happen. Which is more politic announcing before 2015 that he will stand and everyone assuming he expects Cameron (and their party) to lose (distracting everyone from his current job as well as being arguably defeatist before the campaign has started) or waiting until the result is confirmed and then throwing his hat in the ring. Its a no brainer really (unless you’re a Spectator journalist)……

    • antondarby

      Sorry, I may be talking out of turn here, as I live outside the country
      but wasn’t Ms May completely panicked when those riots kicked off. Not
      expecting Mussolini but a minimum of leadership would have been welcomed
      at the time!

      • HookesLaw

        The police, the Met, were totally inept though. The Commissioner has since gone.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Actually I’d forgotten about that but as it goes she wasn’t panicked. She was AWOL for two days. London’s burning and for two days the Home Secretary was nowhere to be seen which of course led to the bizarre scenario of that worthless Libdem Lynne Featherstone being trundled out in front of the cameras on the Sunday looking like Bambi caught in the car headlights.

        • HookesLaw

          There was a protest march on 6th, followed by rioting. The riots continued on 7th Aug, May returned from holidays and was meeting police on 8th.
          Boris returned from holiday on 9th.

          ‘worthless’ – well you would know all about that.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    So it’s the mouthy albino toff vs. the authoritarian crone, both committed EUSSR socialists, is it? Not much of a choice.

    We should give the toff bonus points for cleverly declining to join the Cameroonian rabble. Against the Don’s advice, he’s keeping his friends close and his enemies as far away as humanly possible, which is a smart move as his enemies are soon to be stuffed and mounted.

    • HookesLaw

      How a nasty bigot like you is still posting on here must be a mystery to everyone.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Coming from you that’s priceless. You get top marks for irony!

        • HookesLaw

          More ignorance. And a total lack of self awareness.

          Do you approve of using a medical condition in a pejorative sense?
          Please tell us, or do you not understand the nature of bigotry?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            I think we all understand the nature of a socialist nutter.

            You provide a useful case study.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No, only you socialist nutters, who find pretty much everything in life a mystery.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No mystery for we conservatives, laddie, but all of life is a mystery for you socialists.

  • Noa

    An alternative view is that Teresa May, in fully enacting the insiddious Equalites Act, is as enthusiastic a socialist as Harriet Harmon, in opting into the European Arrest Warrant, is as pro-EU as its President Barosso and in her tabling and support of the ‘snooper’s charter’ is as statist and controlling as Gordon Brown.

    • HookesLaw

      blah de blah de blah…

    • HookesLaw

      The equalities Act was passed by Labour.

      And we see the poor old Guardian moaning…
      ‘And yet, for Tories who right now don’t feel very Tory within their hotch-potch coalition, chipping away at the Equalities Act has become an article of faith.Just the other day, under the guise of the anti-bureaucracy red tape challenge, the home secretary let it be known that she is taking the chisel to a few more clauses. Out would go the one dealing with third-party discrimination:’

      • Noa

        Teresa May enacted 90% of Harman’s legislative nightmare as planned by the previous administration with the declared aim of ‘making Britain a more equal society’ rather than consigning it to the dustbin of marxist history where it belongs. The remaining 10%, legislating socialism into government , must await the return of Labour into power.

        “Section 1 of the Act imposes a duty on public bodies to “have
        due regard to the desirability of exercising [their functions] in a way
        that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result
        from socio-economic disadvantage”. Polly Toynbe, a commentator, called this “socialism in one clause“. It could also be seen as the often mooted human right to money. The duty was due to come into force in April 2011.”

  • HurstLlama

    “She is the politician who has started to get a grip on immigration and the one who has dared to take on the last great unreformed public service, the police force.”

    She might have started to talk about getting a grip on immigration and talk about reforming the Plod, but so have others before her. Ken Clarke and David Blunket, for example, both introduced reforms of the police all of which, apart from the bits that ACPO and the Police Federation liked, got quietly forgotten about. When she has actually achieved substantial results then she might have something to shout about in her pursuit of power.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Any chance of my comment coming out of moderation, ever?

    You know, the one in which I wondered how his constituents would feel when their newly elected MP was persuaded to stand aside for Boris Johnson.

  • Justathought

    If Boris thinks he cannot be part of the government without holding the top office then he is right to stand aside. By comparison Theresa May is clearly happy to be a team player and has shown a willingness to grasp the immigration nettle that Boris has not.

  • greggf

    Perhaps they’ve sensed that Cameron’s “Tory Truth Truck” may be his ticket to Carey Street.
    The immigration van is an idea that has opened the door to election tactics, even a strategy or policy, that was not thought conceivable before.
    If it fails, or gets banned by some quasi-judicial or political issue and Cameron cannot rescue it then UKIP stand to gain big-time. Because the idea conflates the very unpopular issues of immigration and unentitled welfare together.

  • John_Page

    The Home Office was a political graveyard before it was split. Don’t see why it should be now.

    The claim that May has got a grip on immigration is ridiculous. It’s only a few weeks ago that they admitted they have even less idea how many immigrants we have than they used to claim. And what about the Slough sheds?

    Finally, she has no humour and no charisma. As a leader she’d make Ed Miliband look colourful.

    • Makroon

      Yeah, forget hard-work, seriousness and competence, it’s “humour” and “colour” that makes a good Prime Minister. (some lightweight like Farage, I suppose ?)

      • monty61

        Is Gordon already forgotten then?

        • HookesLaw

          He has in Kirkcaldy

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …soon to be joined by Call Me Dave.

      • Alex

        To be fair, Boris is hard to dislike.
        I think it’s worth the effort, though.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Yes, persevere, my good man. Persevere.

      • John_Page

        You need personality to get elected. I haven’t seen any yet. That’s not to say the party members wouldn’t choose her – their record in choosing leaders is abysmal.

        • HookesLaw

          MPs chose the candidates for the election which the membership then voted on.
          Cameron’s predecessor was elected unopposed.
          John Major was elected by MPs.
          Hague was elected by MPs
          IDS was elected under the same system as Cameron. He was the right wing candidate and went down like a lead balloon with the electorate.

          It seems to me there is no practical or statistical evidence for your claim.
          Political parties should not change leaders unless they absolutely have to. its a massively dangerous thing to do

    • Denis_Cooper

      It was primarily split to align us with other EU member states, most or all of which have long had two separate ministries for Justice and for the Interior.

      That becomes clear looking at this press release after a recent meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, both from the doubled up participants from all countries and statements such as “On Thursday, justice ministers held an in-depth discussion … “, “On Friday, home affairs ministers held an in-depth discussion … “:

      • John_Page

        The reason why it was split is irrelevant, though actually John Reid said the Home Office wasn’t fit for purpose.

        The point is that the load isn’t what it used to be.

        • Denis_Cooper

          I know the reason for the split is irrelevant, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to point it out …

    • paulthorgan

      She gives Yvette Cooper a caning every time the meet at the despatch box. At least when Miliband minor is roughed now, it is done in a gentlemanly fashion.

      • HookesLaw

        Yvette Cooper, now there’s a blast form the past.

  • thucydides

    Boris Johnson may be fit to be Mayor of London where the moral standards by which he is judged are those of his decadent predecessor.
    However the Tory Party deserve better. It is bad enough being in coalition with one who claims to have slept with 30 women.
    What we do not need is more of this:

    “Boris is at it again. Caught on camera last weekend, the notorious blond mop escaping from beneath a burglar’s beanie, we saw him leaving his new flame’s flat. Far from chastened by last year’s public expulsion from Michael Howard’s shadow cabinet over similar sexual indiscretions, he was clearly deep into another affair. So what was the reaction – outrage? Maybe. Or did we sigh indulgently and turn the page?”

    • Portendorfer

      I am a huge fan of Theresa May.
      Her values are the values of Middle Britain and as far as I know her morals are impeccable.

      • dalai guevara

        Oh dear – another day pleasently warm enough to opt for flip-flops.

  • john

    Boris must stand. He represents the clownish element of British politics and is very entertaining. He also nicely personifies the way forward for the UK – archaic constitution, giggly debates, posh boy governments, royal shows. He’s ideal!

  • Normandee

    A very good thing, Boris is possibly more in favour of the EU than Cameron and god knows he is bad enough. Apparently he is doing a good job where he is, let him stay there.