The Sun on Sunday’s story this morning that senior Tories have opened talks with Boris Johnson about a campaigning role for the Mayor follows some advice offered by James Forsyth in the pages of this magazine back in May. In his politics column, James argued that Boris needed a role in the 2015 campaign to reach voters who might otherwise be turned off by the Tories:
‘Persuading the public that Labour can’t be trusted with office again is necessary but not sufficient. To achieve victory, the Tories must connect with the electorate in a way that they are currently not. That means Cameron finding a role for Boris; he’d be well suited to being the chief Cameron surrogate.
‘Those around Cameron fret about whether Boris can be trusted or not. But the presence of Crosby, the man who helped get Boris get elected in London twice, should ensure his good behaviour. Then there is the other question the Cameroons have to ask themselves: is there a Tory better suited to reaching those parts of the electorate that Farage can but the Tory leadership can’t? The answer should tell them that they need Boris on board for the campaign.’
The Sun’s report says ‘Mr Johnson is ready to commit to “short bursts” of campaigning and exploit his appeal among younger voters’ which will allow him to continue his work as Mayor while bringing the ‘X-factor’ to wider Tory campaigning. It also means the Mayor will stay loyal and a little bit more on message than he might otherwise be tempted to be if he were left to his own devices over the next year and a half. As ever, taking the advice of the Spectator is a wise course of action.