'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Sunday 16 March 2014

The Lib Dems: Boris Johnson's best friend?

There's a very readable piece in The Observer today about the Tory leadership positioning, and the problems Boris faces in putting himself in poll position.

But I think it misses one crucial point out.

Boris doesn't need the Tories to win in 2015. If they do, Cameron is safe until 2020, after which the next generation of Tories are more likely to take up the leadership mantle.

But he can't be seen to actively want the Tories to lose either. That would be suicidal for his leadership credentials. And anyway, he presumably doesn't want them to lose.

So he is in a bit of a cleft stick.

So the best situation for him is probably - a repeat of the status quo. Another collation with us.

A straight Tory defeat would mean Cameron resigning a day after the election, and a new leader elected very quickly. Boris, not in Parliament, would be the Prince across the water without a boat.

But another coalition would delay that process. Cameron wouldn't be under the same pressure to resign - after all, to be in that position, the Tory's share of the vote vs 2010 would be at worst similar, in itself a remarkable political achievement. So Boris would have time on his side to get his ducks in a row and find a seat.

Now of course, Boris again cannot be seen to be wanting the Lib Dems to hold the balance of power - anything but. So expect a lot more articles like these.

But deep down, Boris must know. His best chance of leading the Tories lies in the General Election performance of the Lib Dems.

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