Andy McSmith's Diary: Watch out Prime Minister, with Boris as Mayor anything can still happen

Our man in Westminster

Since Boris Johnson is the UK’s second most widely recognised politician, any hint he drops about his future will start a flurry of speculation. Today, he replied to a question on LBC’s radio phone-in programme about whether he would run for a third term as Mayor of London. “I won’t deny it, it is something I think about and something that I’ve even talked to friends about,” he said.

This small hint that London’s Mayor might let go of his outside chance of being Prime Minister to dedicate himself to running the capital had headline writers in a spin, and inspired Ladbrokes to offer odds of 2-1 to any punter who wants to throw money away by backing Johnson to win the 2016 mayoral election. But to understand what he was saying, look at the context. Minutes earlier, the Mayor had batted away a question about whether he is after David Cameron’s job by stressing how focused he is on what he is doing now and how much he enjoys it. He could scarcely go straight from there to declaring that he has already fixed his departure date.

Having implied that he might be up for a 12-year stretch in City Hall, he immediately qualified it by saying: “The reality is that after eight years you’ve been at it for a long time in a very big job. You see what happens to people who do things for too long …The truth is, I’m stepping down in 2016. After that, who knows what will happen?”

Some people wonder if he will even stay that long, if the offer of a safe seat comes his way before the 2015 general election, because if the Conservatives are defeated and David Cameron steps down, Johnson will need to be in the Commons to join the race to be the next Conservative leader.

But I’m told by someone who worked closely with him that he will do his full term as Mayor, confident that even if Cameron decided that he had to step down, he would hold off long enough to make sure that Johnson was in a position to be a contender.

Otherwise, he would risk the lasting resentment in parts of the Conservative Party that they were forced to have a leadership election from which the nation’s favourite Tory was barred from standing. But as the Mayor sagely said, who knows what will happen?

Mr Gove jokes may stop if Mrs Gove joins Mail

It is reported that Sarah Vine, journalist wife of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, is being recruited by the Daily Mail to fill the hole left by the death in 2004 of that acerbic columnist Lynda Lee-Potter.

In her heyday, Lee-Potter struck fear into those on the receiving end of her barbs, such as Cherie Blair – who, according to Alastair Campbell, fussed over her wardrobe, fretting that Lee-Potter would call her frumpy.

However, if the rumoured appointment comes about, it will deny the Daily Mail a rich vein of humour it has exploited up to now at the expense of Michael Gove.

“Oh, Minister, what toe-curling secrets will your wife reveal about you next?” was the headline on one feature, which consisted of a list of revelations about the home life of the Goves, gleaned from Vine’s columns in The Times, including the assertion that “my husband is the worst driver in England, possibly in the western world” and the allegation that he read 1,000 pages of volume three of Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson during the birth of their first child (which suggests a protracted labour or that Gove is a fast reader).

The Mail found amusement in Vine’s claim that her husband had offended Mick Jagger in a urinal by commenting disparagingly on the size of his penis. “When people ask Sarah why she is married to a man who calls himself ugly, she smiles broadly and says: ‘It wasn’t his big heart that first attracted me,’” an anonymous friend of Gove was quoted as saying.

That, as they say, is enough information.

Cameron brushes up his Blair speak

“Weak, weak, weak,” David Cameron said of Ed Miliband during today’s Commons exchange. It was not particularly original.

On 30 January 1997, with an election barely three months away, Tony Blair used those very words to taunt John Major for failing to mend the rift in his party over Europe. It shows, again, how hard Cameron tries to sound like Tony Blair.

You may notice, too, that he has stopped making jibes about how Ed Miliband did in his brother David’s political career. Depicting the Labour leader as a ruthless younger sibling does not fit with the new party line that Ed is weak.

Bercow’s failure to make (Tory) friends

Tory MPs just do not like the Speaker John Bercow, who used to be one of them but achieved his current exalted position by cultivating the support of Labour MPs.

Relations have not been helped by an incident on Monday, when somebody barracked the Labour MP Stella Creasy. The official Hansard record identifies the offender only as “An hon member”. Mr Bercow believed the culprit was the Tory Ian Liddell-Grainger and warned him: “If you can’t be quiet, get out. You are adding nothing and you are subtracting a lot. It is rude, it is stupid and it needs to stop... Whoever it was.” According to witnesses, it was not Mr Liddell-Grainger. It is being said that Alan Duncan, a minister for International Development, has privately owned up.

Eel the pain: the EU catches us out

I am mildly surprised to learn that there are EU rules on eel management. The UK is supposed to be rearing more than 3,000 tons of silver eels to maturity every year, but the Agriculture minister, Richard Benyon, admitted this week that the UK is achieving only 1,375 tons. The UK usually prides itself on fulfilling EU directives. In eel management, we have slipped up.;

Suggested Topics
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say


Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery NurseI am currently...

KS2 Teacher

£21000 - £34000 per annum + Excellent rates of pay, CPD, Support : Randstad Ed...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery nurse required for ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album