As Guido Fawkes pointed out this afternoon, the idea of Boris as the next Tory leader – or indeed the next PM – was the topic of many a wine-fuelled conversation in Manchester last night.
Cameron may publicly back the London mayor’s 2012 reelection campaign 100 per cent – but is Boris also the man who will steal his throne in the not-too-distant future?
This notion isn’t entirely new. Andrew Gimson wrote at length about the possibility in the Spectator way back in 2009.
But just last month, Boris rekindled the idea in an interview with Prospect magazine.
As for Boris’s much-anticipated turn on the Conservative Conference stage earlier today (full speech text here), the London Mayor offered precious little to grease the rumour mill.
Yet in a not-very-scientific-but-quite-fun BBC poll, released today, Boris narrowly beat Chancellor George Osborne among conference delegates asked to give their preference for the next Tory leader.
Do you think that Boris is destined for Number 10? Let us know below.
Boris in Manchester: the quotes
“At a time of economic difficulty, I think he brings strong, charismatic leadership, he brings people together, he cheers people up.”
“Today we saw the real Boris Johnson – an out-of-touch Conservative, failing to put ordinary Londoners first on the issues that really affect them, from rising fares to police cuts.”
“The Prime Minister was in the audience. Presumably it was not lost on him that this was a double electioneering address – for a second term as Mayor, but also for David Cameron’s own job.”
Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
“This was a less disruptive Boris than usual. The idea that he is only using the mayoralty for what he can get out of it is one that his campaign team doesn’t want to see catch on.”
Dave Hill, the Guardian