Boris Johnson’s attacks on coalition policy are sanctioned by Downing Street as part of a strategy to ensure a second term at City Hall according to the Telegraph.
Over the past year the Mayor has publicly criticised coalition policies on housing benefits and tax and has engaged in a war of words with Ministers over reforms to union laws in the wake of successive strikes by Tube unions.
The paper’s Benedict Brogan says such interventions are carried out under licence from the Prime Minister who is pre-warned about each attack by Johnson.
Brogan writes: “Some time ago, [Boris Johnson] came to an understanding with Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne – who oversees Tory election planning – that gives him permission to defy them on policy. Both sides recognise that to win, the Mayor must separate himself from the Prime Minister and even at times beard him. In the near daily exchanges of text messages between the three, there is an informal understanding that when Boris plans to go off the reservation, he will alert the high command.”
Brogan’s article says the Mayor’s criticisms of the coalition are “an agreed strategy rather than a unilateral declaration of independence.”
This week’s YouGov poll putting Johnson seven points ahead of Labour challenger Ken Livingstone suggest these attacks are reaping rewards for the Mayor.