In Brief

The Boris and Ed show: a taste of things to come?

Or perhaps not? BBC's Nick Robinson among those wondering if Boris did himself any favours

The Twittersphere was quick to react to the colourful exchanges between Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband on Andrew Marr’s BBC sofa yesterday morning, with many pointing out that if Miliband wins on 7 May and David Cameron loses and is replaced by Boris as Tory leader, then this is the double-act we’ll be seeing in action in the Commons for the next five years.

The only question is whether Boris met the high hopes so many Tories have for him.

Those who missed the two men’s badinage can watch a clip here or read an excellent account by Ann Treneman, sketch writer at The Times.

Here’s a taste:

When Boris noted that the Labour plan to abolish non-dom tax status would raise little money, Ed jumped in: “Boris! Let me just ask you. Are you saying we should carry on with this tax loophole?”

Boris: “I am in favour of the rich [pause] paying as much taxes as [pause] consistent with a successful economy. And your policy…”

Suddenly, the London mayor went off piste, as Treneman put it.

Boris: “I thought Andy [Andrew Marr] gave you a very easy ride…”

Miliband: “Boris! Are you for keeping non-dom status?” 

Boris: “Hang on! Is this the Ed Miliband who was in the Treasury with Gordon Brown? Are you the same creature?”

Ed: “Don’t get rattled. Come on now, Boris!”

Boris: “I seem to remember. I think you were the guy…”

Andrew Marr thought it the best television of the week; Treneman disagrees – it was the best TV of the entire election. Not least because Boris achieved in 60 seconds what Labour has failed to do in five years – make Ed Miliband seem self-possessed.

More seriously for the Tory party, Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, tweeted afterwards: “Wonder how many Tories still think Boris is their under-used secret weapon after this morning's performance on the Marr sofa?”

While Mike Smythson at Political Betting believes that if Cameron does step down and there’s a contest – rather than a coronation – to find the next party leader, the London mayor’s detractors will use yesterday’s performance to undermine him.

“Methinks Boris would struggle to win a 2015 contest,” says Smythson.

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