Tories divided over Boris Johnson’s ambitions of leadership

 

Deputy Political Editor

Eton-educated Tories are treating control of the country “like a play thing” to be passed on between them, a senior Conservative has claimed.

Mark Pritchard spoke out amid fresh speculation over the ambitions of the Mayor of London to succeed his fellow Old Etonian as Tory leader.

He tweeted: “Inside and outside of Parliament people are fed up of Old Etonians thinking they can pass on No10 like some sort of play thing or baton.”

Mr Pritchard, a former secretary of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, will irritate Downing Street as it battles accusations it is a run by a cabal of men from elite public schools.

It fiercely denied a report last week that a group of Old Etonians would mainly be responsible for writing the party’s 2015 general election manifesto.

Mr Johnson’s future intentions were thrown in the spotlight on Saturday when it was claimed George Osborne had delivered a message to Mr Johnson challenging him to stand for Parliament in 2015.

The Chancellor’s move was reportedly designed to force him to prove his loyalty to Mr Cameron by tieing the Mayor’s political fate to the Tories’ election performance.

The Mail on Sunday quoted a Johnson ally accusing Mr Osborne of trying to “destabilise Boris”.

Senior Conservatives sought on Sunday to cool the clash between two men who are seen as potential successors to Mr Cameron.

The party chairman, Grant Shapps, told BBC 1’s Andrew Marr Show it would be “crazy” for the Mayor not to be involved in the election campaign because he is “a guy who is able to communicate incredibly well”.

Mr Shapps would not be drawn on whether Mr Johnson should stand as an MP, but added that he had “a little way to go” as the Mayor’s term in office runs until 2016.

A Conservative source said: “Boris will play a big role in the election campaign. He has got name recognition and is a great asset. We have no view either way whether he stands as an MP.”

A friend of the Mayor said: “Boris’ focus is on London. It was in 2012, when he stood for a second term, it will be in 2016 when he finishes that term.”

Jon Ashworth, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “The Chancellor is spending his time fighting with Boris Johnson like ferrets in a sack over a Tory leadership vacancy after the next election.

“Senior Tories should be getting to grips with the cost-of-living crisis facing ordinary families, not putting their own interests first.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game