Back to Boris: Johnson to stand as MP

Boris Johnson

In a speech on Europe, London Mayor Boris Johnson revealed his ambition to stand in the 2015 election, having previously denied it.

Giving a much needed boost to the Conservative party, Johnson's announcement this morning that he will, "in all probability" try to find a seat to stand in for the 2015 election, has huge political implications, in London and beyond.

Previously, Johnson has categorically denied numerous reports stating his return to mainstream politics, saying in September 2012 he was "absolutely not" planning to do so. Interestingly, he has instead proclaimed his commitment to serving out his mayorship in full- something which he could still do whilst serving as a Member of Parliament. This has led to criticism from the Labour Party, with Sadiq Khan arguing the Mayor is more committed to party politics than to helping Londoners. However, given Johnson's predecessor Ken Livingstone also successfully combined both roles, there is nothing legally preventing the practise.

In typical Boris fashion, the Mayor claimed it is "highly likely" he would be unsuccessful; yet his widespread support from the party makes this scenario beyond doubtful. The Prime Minister has always championed his return to Westminster, describing him as a "star player" and tweeting his pleasure that he has decided to stand. Although the decision of who to nominate is ultimately made by the local Conservative nomination, Johnson's popularity and work in the public eye means he would be a high profile coup for any number of vacant London constituencies, with Uxbridge already proposed.

Of course, the announcement has once again prompted talks of a leadership battle-if Johnson is elected in 2015, but the Conservatives lose and Cameron resigns, then he would be able to run for the leadership. This is, obviously, all hypothetical; when asked whether this was his intention, Johnson reverted into "weasel mode" and avoided the question. Certainly, at least outwardly both Cameron and Johnson support each other, but the timing is significant; Johnson has chosen to make his announcement at a time when the outcome of the election is very much uncertain- there is all to play for and all to lose.

The real reason for Johnson's change of heart then, remains to be seen- but one thing is for certain; Boris is not, and never has been, a man of half measures. Behind the bumbling, buffoonish attitude, there is a fierce intellect that surely has considered every possibility. For him to backtrack on his promise to serve out his Mayorship without taking on other roles, there must be the prospect of success.