Boris Johnson will not stand for parliament at the next election, The Spectator understands. The Mayor of London has told the Cameron circle that he will not seek to return to the Commons in a pre-2015 by-election, nor will he stand at the general election.
Boris's decision not to be a candidate in 2015 indicates that he expects Cameron still to be Prime Minister and party leader after the general election. He has told friends that he has no desire to spend three years serving under Cameron. He reasons that if Cameron loses, creating a Tory leadership vacancy, he'll be able to persuade an MP to rapidly stand aside for him.
The news that Boris is not standing in 2015 will come as a relief to Cameron's allies. It removes one potential general election distraction; CCHQ was distinctly concerned about the possibility of him standing in Croydon South. They'll also be reassured that Boris now thinks Cameron is likely to end up back in Downing Street.
Boris expects to be facing Theresa May in a future leadership contest. As tomorrow’s Spectator puts it:
‘The Home Office is meant to be a political morgue. Yet, May has used the position to transform her political reputation. When Cameron gave her the job in May 2010, she wasn’t known for much more than having told the Tories that they were seen as "the nasty party". Today, however, she is the Home Secretary who finally kicked Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada out of the country. She is the politician who has started to get a grip on immigration and the one who has dared to take on the last great unreformed public service, the police force. This run of successes has seen her eclipse Boris as the bookies’ favourite for next Tory leader.’
Read more about Boris and the Tory leadership in tomorrow's Spectator. Subscribe from just £1 a week here.