Boris Johnson’s announcement that he is looking to stand in the 2015 General Election undermines the Mayoralty and is a snub to Londoners.
Boris previously stated that being Mayor of London was the “greatest job in the world”. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that he’s now changed his mind just as we approach a General Election. With his announcement, Boris is going to be completely distracted between now and the next Mayoral Elections in 2016 – first, fighting to get selected as a prospective candidate for Parliament and then fighting an election campaign to become an MP. All this at a time when Londoners – who are suffering a severe housing crisis, cuts to police and fire services, and some of the worst air quality in Europe – will need strong leadership most.
If he thinks he can juggle being Mayor of London and being an MP – should his campaign be successful – he is deluded, and it leads me to think that Boris only saw the Mayoralty as a stopgap, biding his time to run again for Parliament, and using the position as a way of building his public profile. The Mayor of London is one of the most powerful, important and time-consuming political positions in the world and we need someone in the position who can focus their mind entirely on working hard for Londoners. I’d also like to know how he would justify being paid a double salary – as Mayor of London and as an MP – for doing a half-baked job in both positions.
His record thus far – at a time when he hasn’t been distracted by running for Westminster – is pitiful: since 2008, Boris has overseen a fall in police officers by over 4,500; closed 10 fire stations – jeopardising the safety of Londoners; has been responsible for a 43.7% increase in bus fares; a 33.2% increase in Tube fares; and presided over a severe housing shortage in London. I dread to think what his record will be like now that he will be splitting his efforts between City Hall and running a campaign to stand in the House of Commons.
Londoners deserve better than a part-time Mayor, who is more concerned with his own political ambitions than working hard for those who live and work in our great city.