London Mayor: Crikey! Labour's wizard plan to 'Get Boris'

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Boris! Crikey! So spiffingly over-endowed is he on the name-recognition front that Johnson has been dragooned by David Cameron, who was two years below him at Eton, as the Conservative candidate against Ken Livingstone.

Press-ganging Boris into the contest for London mayor might be thought daring and innovative, but Cameron had already decided that the Tory candidate would be selected by means of an "open primary" – an American import with a fund-raising twist.

Anyone on the electoral register in the capital can vote to help choose who should wear the blue rosette in next year's London mayoral election on payment of £1.50 through a premium-rate phone line.

Last week, opposition to Boris took two forms. One was from Compass, a Labour pressure group, which suggested that Boris was an extreme right-winger – "Norman Tebbit in a clown's uniform". The other was a suggestion that Labour supporters pile in anddisrupt Cameron's evident preference for Boris.

The latter "Labour plot" idea would be both difficult and expensive. The real argument against it was made by the Labour MP for Ealing North, Stephen Pound. He wrote that Labour supporters should be piling in to support Boris. "As someone who wants Ken to continue as London mayor," he said, "I'll be delighted if he's up against Boris Johnson, who's an embarrassment in the league of Lord Archer."