Boris Johnson is public favourite for Conservative leadership poll
London mayor is choice of voters and party supporters to lead Tories if David Cameron stands down.
Boris Johnson is the favoured candidate to be the next Conservative leader among both the party’s supporters and the general public, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday.
A YouGov survey for the Sun on Sunday found 34% of people wanted the mayor of London, who is planning to stand for parliament next year, to take over when David Cameron stands down, with that figure rising to 50% among Tory backers.
The findings will increase the Westminster frenzy that has followed last week’s announcement by Johnson that he hopes to become an MP at next year’s general election while staying on as mayor.
The poll put Theresa May in second place on 19%.
In an interview with the Sunday Times that may make uncomfortable reading for Cameron, Johnson discusses his own “ruthless energy” and says he took the job of mayor to gain administrative experience.
Johnson’s friends said that he is in touch with Tory party officials in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency in west London where the sitting MP, Sir John Randall, is stepping down. Three candidates will be chosen by 28 August before the final selection is made by 12 September.
They played down the possibility of Johnson seeking to become leader of the Conservative party, saying he has no plans to challenge Cameron.
But one MP said Johnson has no ambitions to serve under Cameron, and was moving into the perfect position to make a challenge if next year’s election does not bring an overall Tory majority.
“He doesn’t want to serve under Cameron. It is not his style. But he wants to show what he can do on the biggest stage of all, of course he does,” he said.
In the Sunday Times, Johnson appears to criticise a number of policies that are supported by one of his rivals for leadership, George Osborne.
Johnson described support for a third runway at Heathrow as “bollocks”, saying he will continue to campaign against high-speed rail, and appears to express support for green targets – all positions thought to be contrary to Osborne’s.
The Mail on Sunday reported that dozens of Tory MPs are prepared to vote against the first Queen’s speech of the new government in a bid to replace Cameron with Johnson, if the Tory leader enters into another coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
This would happen if the Tories failed to win an overall majority and were forced into a coalition with other political parties, the paper claims.
Nearly all polls have predicted the Tories will fall short of an overall majority in 2015.
- The Guardian,