Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants London Mayor Boris Johnson to return to Parliament in the general election.
His comments come after veteran Conservative MP Peter Tapsell announced on Friday that he would not run in the 2015 election, leaving a safe seat vacant.
During an interview with James Corden, who is guest editing The Sun for Sport Relief, Mr Cameron added that he wants Mr Johnson “on the team,” but that it was up to the Mayor to decide whether he completes his term in City Hall which lasts until 2016.
“I want him to get back in Parliament. I think he's great. It's a bit like football - if you have got a great striker you want him on the pitch.
“It's up to him. He can complete as Mayor, or he can stay on as Mayor and come back to the House."
Running in the general election was “what I think he should do,” said Mr Cameron.
Regarding speculation that Mr Johnson wants to become Prime Minister, Mr Cameron said: “It wouldn't be a great job to have if people didn't want it.
"There is nothing ignoble about wanting my job," he added, and insisted he was relaxed about Mr Johnson having designs on following him as leader.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly insisted that he will see out his term in the capital.
But the Mayor's father Stanley Johnson has fuelled speculation about a leadership bid by calling for a change to Tory party rules to allow contenders from outside Parliament to throw their hats into the ring.
Meanwhile, Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price warned the Conservative Party was being destabilised by “self-indulgent” speculation over Boris Johnson's ambitions, which had become an “obsession”.
The mayor's official spokesman would not be drawn on the speculation but said: “The mayor is getting on with running London - delivering the housing, the jobs and the growth needed in a rapidly-expanding city.”
The speculation follows Conservative Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget 2014 speech on Wednesday, which was marred by a tweet by Tory party chairman Grant Shapps.
The message was criticised as being “patronising” for suggesting that working people relax by drinking beer and playing bingo.Reuse content