Boris and Dave love-in boosts mayor's chance of leading Tories
Gangnam Style bonding at Chequers sets seal on PM's offer to welcome Boris back to Westminster
BORIS JOHNSON will be ultra-loyal to David Cameron when he delivers his speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester this morning. Why? Because the PM has promised Boris his support to regain a seat in Parliament at the 2015 general election - if keeps his nose clean.
Cameron confirmed it on Radio 4's Today programme. "I have had that conversation with Boris. My message to him is you have been a brilliant mayor. You have a lot more to give in public life and it would be great to have him back in the House of Commons… I will certainly be giving him a warm welcome."
Before Cameron appeared on the show, BBC political editor Nick Robinson had told listeners about a recent Boris love-in with the Camerons at Chequers, the PM's country residence.
In an astonishing image that will blow the minds of some traditional Tories, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London apparently danced Gangnam Style and their families played football on the lawn as part of their bonding session.
Robinson said: "I am told David Cameron has told Boris Johnson, 'If you want to come back as a Conservative MP - if you want to do it at the next election, if you are worried that some people will say you are like a vulture circling around waiting for me to fail, forget it. I will help you get back into the House of Commons. I will embrace you. The Tory leadership will embrace you as well'."
Robinson went on: "What we are seeing is a startling rapprochement. He [Boris] is at this conference today but he is not overshadowing it. He is joking on David Cameron's behalf and not at his expense."
If Boris takes up Cameron's offer, he will stay on as Mayor of London until May 2016 and double up as a constituency MP for the year 2015-16. His likely seat will be Croydon South, where Richard Ottaway, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee has already announced he is standing down in 2015, or Richmond, where Tory eco-rebel Zac Goldsmith might give up his seat for the blonde bombshell.
Boris has let it be known he does not wish to be made chairman of the Conservative party after the election. He's clearly concentrating on getting Cameron's job when it comes up - which will be sooner rather than later if the Tories can't win the 2015 election. On current betting, with a thin field of potential runners - George Osborne, Theresa May and Philip Hammond - he'd be a dead cert.
What's in it for Cameron? He needs all the help he can get to overhaul Labour's poll lead at the next election, and having Boris inside his big tent, peeing out, rather peeing in, gives him a much better chance. "He's a great asset," said Dave.
Boris avoided any criticism of Cameron in his Daily Telegraph column yesterday, turning his fire instead on Red Ed Miliband, and was expected to do the same again in his speech this morning.
He was, however, lukewarm about Cameron's tax break for married couples when he appeared on Newsnight last night. Like other Tory modernisers he feels uneasy about the state apparently taking a moral stand against lone parents. He'll keep those thoughts under wraps today.
It will take a superhuman effort of self-discipline (not his strongest characteristic) but Boris knows now that keeping his nose clean is his best chance of becoming the next Tory leader. ·