London Mayor Johnson Says Talk of Being Premier Nonsense

London Mayor Boris Johnson
London Mayor Boris Johnson said, “I think it’s a very tough job being prime minister.” Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- London Mayor Boris Johnson again dismissed speculation he wants to succeed David Cameron as Conservative Party leader and U.K. prime minister, calling such talk “increasingly hysterical” and “completely nonsensical.”

“What I want is for David Cameron to win this election, which he deserves to do and I want to do everything I possibly can to help,” Johnson told BBC Television’s “Andrew Marr Show” yesterday. “What I want is to spend my time remaining as mayor to do as well as I can as mayor of London.”

Johnson is 5/1 second favorite with bookmaker William Hill Plc to succeed Cameron as Tory leader, behind Home Secretary Theresa May at 4/1. His term as mayor expires in 2016, a year after the next general election. Johnson does not currently have a seat in the House of Commons. The Tories are lagging the opposition Labour Party by about 10 percentage points in national polls.

The mayor rebuffed suggestions by presenter Eddie Mair that indiscretions in his past, including fabricating quotes when he was a newspaper reporter and lying about an extramarital affair, should be of concern to voters. The topics, which have been covered in past biographies about Johnson, are raised again in a BBC documentary on the mayor that airs today.

“You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?” Mair asked Johnson.

“Interpretations you’re putting on those things aren’t wholly fair,” Johnson said. Voters “don’t care about phone conversations with my friends 20 years ago, they don’t care about some ludicrous so-called made-up quote,” he said.

Johnson was also asked in today’s BBC documentary about his prime-ministerial ambitions.

“I think it’s a very tough job being prime minister,” the mayor said. “Obviously, if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum -- which it won’t -- of course it would be a great, great thing to have a crack at. But it’s not going to happen.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Buckle in London at ebuckle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net