Oral Update on the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Question By: 
Tom Copley
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

First of all, congratulations to you and commiserations to the people of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.  Being a Member of Parliament (MP) is one thing, but taking up a Cabinet post or running for the leadership of the Conservative Party would be quite different, and both would require an immense amount of time and energy and would be entirely incompatible with remaining Mayor of London.

Will you today make a firm commitment that you will not take up a Government post or run for the leadership of the Conservative Party whilst you are Mayor of London?

Answer

Answer for Oral Update on the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Oral Update on the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Obviously, Tom ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  You can just say yes or no.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ I am flattered by the line of interrogation that you have chosen to adopt.  All I can tell you is that there is no vacancy for either of the posts that you described.  I can hear just in my right ear my great friend Mr Biggs [John Biggs AM] saying, “There will be from Friday night”, or something.  On the contrary, if you look at what is happening, I think our great union is going to be preserved.  I am absolutely confident that Britain is going to remain intact [following the 18 September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence] and ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  I am glad to hear that, Mr Mayor, but I am just trying to get an answer from you about this particular issue.  It is a simple question.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ if you look at what ‑‑ and I think that ‑‑ 

Tom Copley AM:  It is a simple question.  If there were a vacancy ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It did not sound very simple to me.  It seemed to involve a lot of completely outrageous hypotheses and conjectures.

Tom Copley AM:  If there were a vacancy, Mr Mayor, or if you were offered a position in Government, would you take up either of those roles, yes or no?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  There is no vacancy so the answer is that ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  Will you rule out taking up either of those positions, running for the Conservative leadership or taking up a Cabinet post?  Will you rule that out while you are Mayor of London?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  There is no remote chance of being ‑‑ what is my normal formulation for this? I am more likely to be reincarnated as an olive or locked in a disused fridge or decapitated by a Frisbee or emerge as ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  Will you rule it out?  Let me put it a different way, Mr Mayor.  I will give you another hypothetical situation.  Do you think it is possible for ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Or, indeed, to be injured whilst travelling on a bicycle in London.

Tom Copley AM:  Hang on a minute.  Do you think it is possible ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You have a 1‑in‑14 million chance of being injured ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  Stop chuntering.  Do you think it is possible, Mr Mayor, for someone to hold the position of Mayor of London and run for Leader of the Conservative Party at the same time?  Imagine that hypothetical situation.  Do you think it is possible?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think you are in the realms of fantasy because the Conservative leadership is absolutely not in doubt and ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  He is not answering.  I think Londoners will note ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ there is no vacancy and it is perfectly obvious that ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  I am glad ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ David Cameron, in my view, is going to be Prime Minister not just until 2015 but beyond 2015 and that is what I will be fighting for and ‑‑

Andrew Dismore AM:  He is not going to answer.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ it is on that basis that I presented myself for selection to the Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative Association.

Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, we are clearly not going to get an answer from you on this point ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are not getting an answer to a useless concatenation of absurd hypotheses which I do not accept.

Tom Copley AM:  ‑‑ but, frankly, Mr Mayor, I do not know ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Why should I?  Why should I engage in your mad speculations about possible worlds?  I am not going to.

Tom Copley AM:  I will give you one last chance.  I will give you one last chance to rule out holding the position of Mayor of London and a Cabinet position or leadership of the Conservative Party, at the same time.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think we should all get back to planet Earth, Tom, where what is going to happen is that the Conservative Party is going to win the election and there is no conceivable vacancy ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  There is a hypothetical.  He is willing to indulge in a hypothetical here, is he not?  Why not go one step further and imagine what might happen after the election, Mr Mayor, or is that simply not possible?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  One thing I will say and it is very important to say this and to repeat what I have said to you about a billion times ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  You are the Mayor who completes six impossible things before breakfast, are you not?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What I will tell you is - and this is very important because I have made this absolutely clear to Londoners - that I will discharge my mandate.  When I came in this morning, John [John Biggs AM] said, “Congratulations.  We will be looking forward to getting rid of you”.

Tom Copley AM:  Ignore Assembly Member Biggs.  Can I question you ‑‑

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I said, “You are not going to get rid of me.  In fact, I am going to make sure that this mayoralty goes on and on and on like a kind of Beethoven symphony, failing to come to any conspicuous-- a crescendo of juddering climaxes! 

Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, the only one who is going on and on here is you.  Can I ask you something else?  I almost do not know why I am trying to get a pledge out of you because we know what your pledges are worth, do we not?  You already pledged that you would not run to be a Member of Parliament in 2015 while you were still Mayor of London, did you not?  You made that pledge on several occasions. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I said I would lead London out of recession and if you look at what has happened ‑‑

Tom Copley AM:  You said in September 2012, “I am absolutely not going to be returning to Parliament”.  People might be interested to hear this:  “I am absolutely not going to be returning to Parliament.  I have to do a job here in London and that is what I want to do, and it is a massive, engaging job.”  You said that in September 2012.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is the job that I described, which was leading the city out of recession, building a record number of affordable homes, cutting crime by about 17%, reducing Tube delays ‑ 

Tom Copley AM:  That is it.  No, he is going off topic now, Chair.  I think I will have to leave it there.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ in spite of the experience of people this morning. by 40%, getting on with delivering the greatest Olympic legacy that any city has ever achieved ‑‑

Jenny Jones AM:  Deviation!

Tom Copley AM:  Deviation!

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am not deviating.  This is absolutely germane to the argument.