The Sunday Times (behind its paywall) had a story on its front-page this morning, saying that Mayor Boris Johnson had threatened to resign unless London projects are protected in George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review next month. So sensitive is the topic that Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome was scrambled to rubbish Isabel Oakeshott’s story.
However, the story itself and Tim Montgomerie’s response underline the fundamental truth: Mayor Boris Johnson is in a dither – he doesn’t really want to stand for London Mayor again; he’s frightened that he will lose; but he doesn’t yet know how to escape with dignity.
As Tim Montgomerie puts it:
“Boris winning again won’t be easy.”
“London isn’t the most hospitable territory for the Tories.”
He acknowledges the tensions between David Cameron and Boris Johnson saying:
“Conservatives at every level need to understand that some tension between the Mayor of London and the government isn’t just inevitable but politically healthy”
and he even concedes that:
“Boris hasn’t got a transformational record”.
So if that’s ConservativeHome riding to Mayor Johnson’s support, he really will need rather more cavalry if he is to stand any chance in 2012.