Boris Johnson has been selected to fight a safe Tory seat in the next election, clearing his path back into Westminster as an MP.
Getting back into Parliament is an essential step if the Major of London is to realise the ambition he is widely believed to harbour of leading the Conservative Party and becoming Prime Minister.
However, within minutes of being selected as Tory candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip he was sidestepping questions about leading the party and perhaps directly challenging David Cameron.
“I have no doubt whatever that we are going to be able to return David Cameron and the Conservatives with an absolute majority in 2015,” he said as he stepped outside the selection meeting to speak to reporters.
He also said that he was “obviously thrilled” to have secured the candidacy at a selection meeting in which he saw off challenges from three rivals for the safe seat.
Despite trying to deflect questions about his ambitions, Mr Johnson’s selection is seen as a potential threat to Mr Cameron’s position in the long term.
The Prime Minister has said publically that he would be delighted to have the mayor back in Parliament, saying he wants his "star players on the pitch", but he is acutely aware Mr Johnson represents a likely alternative to his leadership.
Mr Johnson had previously said that he would not stand as an MP while Major of London but the temptation of the safe seat, combined with calculations about how his position would be likely to weaken should he miss out on the 2015 General Election proved too strong to resist.
The selection meeting was held in a school hall where he and his fellow hopefuls first made a pitch to local party bigwigs before awaiting the outcome of a ballot.
The others candidates were David Simmonds, the deputy leader of the local council, Simon Dudley, the deputy leader of Windsor and Maidenhead, and barrister Suella Fernandes.
Mr Johnson was the clear winner, securing selection outright with the first ballot, ruling out the need for a second vote.
Before becoming Major he was MP for Henley, a seat he held for seven years before resigning to move into City Hall.
He will defend a majority of 11,216 in the north-west London constituency held by former deputy chief whip Sir John Randall, who is stepping down.Reuse content