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Last updated: August 6, 2014 11:59 am
Boris Johnson will stand to be an MP in 2015, the London mayor has confirmed, in a move that will reignite speculation about his leadership ambitions.
Mr Johnson stood down from the Commons after becoming mayor in 2008, but he told an audience at Bloomberg on Wednesday he will look to retake a seat at next year’s election.
The mayor said: “I haven’t got a particular seat lined up but I do think that in all probability, since you can’t do these things furtively, I will try to find somewhere to stand in 2015.”
He added: “It may well go wrong, but the likelihood is that I will have to give it a crack.”
Mr Johnson refused to say which seat he would fight, although one possibility is Uxbridge, where John Randall, the Tory whip, is standing down.
The mayor has long been touted as a candidate for the Conservative leadership, which he would only be able to gain from within the Commons.
But he refused to talk further on Wednesday about his ambitions for the top job.
However, he laid down a series of challenges to the prime minister on his European policy, urging David Cameron not to stay in the EU unless he could achieve a number of very difficult negotiating demands. Those demands included abolishing or reforming the Common Agricultural Policy and ending free movement of people.
The mayor said Britain “should not be frightened” of leaving the EU, something that will delight eurosceptic backbenchers.
The FT revealed on Monday that Mr Johnson’s supporters are increasingly convinced David Cameron will not continue as prime minister beyond 2018 if he wins next year’s general election.
Although Mr Cameron insists he will seek a full second term, Tory MPs and rivals for the succession are working on the assumption he will step down voluntarily midway through the next parliament.
Mr Cameron is expected to announce his resignation as Tory leader immediately if he loses next year’s election, but many Conservatives now reckon that he will win in May 2015 – or at least be able to form a second government.
In theory Mr Cameron has made clear his intention to stay in post for a full five years. “When it comes to the next election, I will be putting myself forward for a full term,” he said in October.
But MPs believe that Mr Cameron would have to say that he wants to serve the full five years.
Allies of Mr Johnson said he was assuming Mr Cameron would step down as prime minister soon after his planned referendum on EU membership in late 2017. He and chancellor George Osborne would be among the frontrunners in a leadership contest, along with Theresa May, home secretary.
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