Supporters of Boris Johnson have dismissed claims that his planned return to the Commons would render him a “part-time” Mayor, insisting he’d use his new position to argue for greater powers for City Hall.
Johnson yesterday ended long running speculation about his future by coming he intended to stand as an MP at the next general election.
The earliest he could step down from City Hall without triggering a by-election, likely to cost taxpayers in the region of £12m, is November 2015 meaning he would have to continue as Mayor while also serving as an MP for at least six months.
Opposition politicians say this would effectively make him a “part-time” mayor and claim Londoners would be relegated to competing for his attention against parliamentary duties and his possible campaigning to secure the Tory party leadership should it become vacant.
However the Mayor’s backers insist his overlapping time at City Hall and the Commons would allow him to “advocate” for London at a time when attention would inevitably be drifting towards his likely successor.
They say one cause he could push, to the benefit of his successor regardless of their party affiliation, is the case for more powers for London.
It’s suggested Johnson would like to foster the same cross-party parliamentary agreement on financial devolution to London as has recently emerged for handing Scotland greater powers if it remains in the UK.