BORIS Johnson yesterday insisted that he would not attempt to become an MP before the end of his mayoral term, despite once again impressing Tory activists at the party’s Birmingham conference.
The Mayor of London told the BBC’s Daily Politics that a return to parliament before May 2016 was “not going to happen” and said that continued speculation over his leadership ambitions is “getting beyond satire”.
He also used the opportunity to challenge the government over its tax policy, claiming: “We are starting to get to a situation where we are being tax-uncompetitive and that really does need to be addressed.”
Johnson’s speech to delegates and another round of high-profile media appearances once again showed the Mayor’s star power and allowed him to dominate the conference for a second day.
In a well-received address that preferred laughs over policy, the mayor declared his “confidence” in the capital’s future and said he looked forward to a “new age of enterprise”.
He said:“I am a Conservative. I believe in a low-tax and low-regulation economy, and I believe that, as far as possible, government needs to make life easy for those who get up at five to get their shops or businesses ready – the strivers, the strugglers, whatever the vogue word is for them today.
“If we can win in a recession and wipe out a 17-point Labour lead then I know that David Cameron will win in 2015 when the economy has turned round – we are already seeing signs of progress – and when people are benefiting from jobs and growth.”
However the audience warmed most to the Mayor’s numerous attempts to be humorous.
Referring to David Cameron’s jibe that he was a “blond-haired mop”, Johnson directly addressed the Prime Minister: “If I am a mop then you are a broom ... a broom that is cleaning up the mess left by the Labour government.”
Johnson also claimed that he had been dancing to the South Korean rapper Psy’s song Gangnam Style with Cameron. The Prime Minister’s team later insisted that the Mayor had been joking.