Boris Johnson announces intention to stand for Uxbridge and South Ruislip

Local Conservatives, however, were delighted with Mr Johnson’s application.

Ray Puddifoot, the leader of Hillingdon Borough Council, told the Telegraph: “He rang me to say he has put his application in – ‘whacked it in’ were his exact words. He said he has affinity to the place and is looking look forward to the process.

“I think he would make an excellent MP. He is a major asset to the party nationally, he will have to prove he is an asset in the constituency.”

Mr Puddifoot said he expects Mr Johnson could lead the party, and his opposition to expanding Heathrow will be a benefit.

“Most people don’t want Heathrow expanded. Boris is the one politician who will guaranteed to stick to that position,” he said.

“He is a big beast. I think he is a man of vision but he needs to be part of a team. He could do a good job as Tory leader one day if he has the right people around him.”

Mr Johnson told The Evening Standard newspaper: “I am sure there will be plenty of excellent candidates and I look forward to making my case to the association.”

Sir John Randell, the currentl MP for Uxbridge who is standing down at the next election, insisted that the Mayor of London will not be a shoo-in for the job.

He said: “If he got into the final three or four he couldn’t rely on just getting in because he is Boris. He will have to give a good speech,” he said earlier this month.

“He will have to prove he is not just coming to use it just to get into Parliament. I think he understands this. If he just turned up and made a not-thought-about-it-much sort of speech that wouldn’t go down well.”

On September 5 local association members will narrow the field of candidates down to a handful. The final candidate will be selected by the local association following hustings on September 12.

Mr Johnson’s announcement that he would return to Parliament reignited speculation that he wishes to succeed David Cameron as the Tory leader.

Boris Johnson’s proposed terror laws are ‘draconian’, former Attorney General warns

“There have been a number of incidences of successful prosecutions of individuals going to prepare terrorism. We should seek to use those first before throwing away very important legal principles.”

In his article for The Telegraph, the Mayor of London also joins calls for jihadists to be stripped of their citizenship, despite opposition from Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who warned at the weekend that such a move would be illegal.

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He calls for control orders, which kept terrorism suspects in their homes, to be brought back amid concerns that hundreds of jihadists could return to Britain and pose a threat to national security if Isil (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) loses ground in Iraq and Syria.

Mr Johnson’s intervention came as the British ambassador to the US said intelligence agents believe they have identified “Jihadi John”, the Briton responsible for beheading the American journalist James Foley, after employing voice recognition technology.

Sir Peter Westmacott, the ambassador to Washington, also disclosed that 70 militants have been arrested after returning from Syria, a number of them carrying instructions for “very specific missions” to unleash terrorist atrocities on British soil.

Mr Johnson says Britain needs to help to “close down” the Islamic caliphate before it is too late, adding that “doing nothing is surely worst of all”.

He says: “If we let Isil get their way, then we will be acquiescing, first, in a gigantic and violent change in international borders.

“Next, we will be allowing a new and hideous regime to be born, a country where black-flag waving jihadis compete to show they have the most bigoted and reactionary understanding of their religion by persecuting women, Jews, Christians, gays, Yazidis aide Shi’ites.

“The place would be a giant training ground for terrorists and wannabe jihadis. We need to try to close it down now, before it gets worse.”

Boris Johnson: The ‘tide of terror will lap at our door’ unless we confront Isil

He suggests that Britain must use its “defence budget” to stop the establishment of a “terrorist caliphate” in the Middle East or a “tide of terror will eventually lap at our own front door”.

His intervention came as Britain’s ambassador to the US said intelligence agents believe they have identified the “jihadi John”, the Briton responsible for beheading US journalist James Foley, after employing sophitsticated voice recognition technology.

Peter Westmacott, the UK’s ambassador to Washington, also disclosed that 70 militants have been arrested after returning from Syria, a number of them carrying instructions for “very specific missions” to unleash terrorist atrocities on British soil.

Mr Johnson says that Britain needs to help “close down” the Islamic caliphate before it is too late, adding that “doing nothing is surely worst of all”.

He says: “If we let Isil get their way, then we will be acquiescing, first, in a gigantic and violent change in international borders.

“Next, we will be allowing a new and hideous regime to be born, a country where black-flag waving jihadis compete to show they have the most bigoted and reactionary understanding of their religion by persecuting women, Jews, Christians, gays, Yazidis ande Shiites.

“The place would be a giant training ground for terrorists and wannabe jihadis. We need to try to close it down now, before it gets worse.”

Senior lawyers said that Mr Johnson’s proposals for “rebuttable presumption” would mark a “profound change” to British law.

Earlier this year, David Cameron announced new laws under which terrorist offences committed in Syria will be prosecuted as if they have taken place on British soil.

The lawyers said Johnson’s plans will go significantly further by shifting the burden of proof from police and prosecutors onto suspected jihadists.

Mr Johnson also says that suspected terrorists who do not return to Britain and “continue to give allegiance” to Isil should be stripped of their citizenship. Similar calls have been made by David Davis, the Tory MP, and Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

He challenges the Liberal Democrats to support control orders, which were axed by the Coalition amid concerns that they infringed on human rights.

On Sunday it emerged that Peter Theo Curtis, an American journalist kidnapped nearly two years ago, has been freed in Syria and handed over to UN officials.

Do nothing, and we invite the tide of terror to our front door

Let’s assume he is indeed who he sounds like – another deluded British-born jihadi. I am afraid I have listened, on the Telegraph website, to the voice of the man who claims to be the killer of James Foley, and there seems little doubt that he grew up in this country. He was probably born in our wonderful NHS. He was schooled in our broadly excellent education system. He and his family have very likely spent their lives, like the rest of us, cushioned by our welfare state. And this is how he chooses to pay back the gift of nurture – by engaging in terrorism, declaring his allegiance to a novel barbarian state, and publicly beheading an entirely innocent journalist.

We are going to have to make up our minds very quickly about this “caliphate”: how we will respond to the irruption of a new and hellish country on the map, and how we deal with these Brits who go off and fight in its name. These Isil wackos now control an area the size of Great Britain, considerable oil reserves, a population of about six million, some industry, and a military capability said to be second in the region only to Israel. To take them on will not be easy, and I can see all the arguments for doing little or nothing – letting “history” take its course.

All these considerations are being actively weighed now, in London and Washington – and above all the imperative of not committing to “boots on the ground”. No option looks very appealing, to put it mildly; and yet doing nothing is surely the worst of all. If we let Isil get their way, then we will be acquiescing, first, in a gigantic and violent change in international borders. Next, we will be allowing a new and hideous regime to be born: a country where black-flag waving jihadis compete to show they have the most bigoted and reactionary understanding of their religion by persecuting women, Jews, Christians, gays, Yazidis and Shi’ites. The place would be a giant training ground for terrorists and wannabe jihadis. We need to try to close it down now, before it gets worse.

We also need to be far more effective in preventing British and other foreigners from getting out there (I am interested to see how many Belgians are there); and the Turks need to shut that border. We need to make it crystal clear that you will be arrested if you go out to Syria or Iraq without a good reason. At present the police are finding it very difficult to stop people from simply flying out via Germany, crossing the border, doing their ghastly jihadi tourism, and coming back. The police can and do interview the returnees, but it is hard to press charges without evidence. The law needs a swift and minor change so that there is a “rebuttable presumption” that all those visiting war areas without notifying the authorities have done so for a terrorist purpose.

There are perhaps five or six hundred Britons currently out there – overwhelmingly, though not exclusively, young men. If and when there is a real attempt to take on Isil, they may come back in a hurry and in a group. Some of them will present more of a risk than others, but the evidence seems to be that most of the jokers – such as those portrayed in the satirical film Four Lions – have already come home. It is the harder nuts that are staying longer. When they come back, they will need surveillance at the very least, and we must look again at our system of monitoring these people.

The Lib Dems will oppose the return of control orders; but even Nick Clegg would surely accept that times have changed. If we have to bring back control orders for some of the more serious risks, we should do so immediately. And unless they come back – and if they continue to give allegiance to a terrorist state – then absolutely we should take away their citizenship.

All this will be difficult, but the problem has got worse fast, and it could get worse still. What is the point of having a defence budget if we don’t at least try to prevent the establishment of a terrorist “caliphate” that is profoundly hostile to civilised values? Do nothing now, and the tide of terror will eventually lap at our own front door.

Will the public take Boris Johnson seriously in 2015?

Datatable: Per cent of party leads in…

Two things stand out from these figures. The first is that Labour’s lead is slightly, but consistently, lower when the names of the three main party leaders are included in the voting intention question. This probably reflects Ed Miliband’s poor personal ratings. Some people who say that they back Labour have second thoughts when reminded that they would be voting for a Miliband-led government.

Secondly, and more relevant to this article, is the Boris effect. It seems to have almost disappeared. For the past two years, Labour’s lead has declined sharply when voting intention was asked in the instance of Boris replacing Cameron as Tory leader. But in our latest poll, it makes only a tiny difference. London’s Mayor does not seem to be quite the crowd-puller that he used to be.

This may have little to do with him. One explanation is that Cameron’s personal standing has recovered to some extent, along with Britain’s recovery. Perhaps the “Boris effect” in past polls has been more an “anti-Cameron effect”, and it is this that has diminished. Even so, disappointment may beckon for anyone who expects electoral riches to fall into the lap of the Conservatives simply by anointing Boris as leader when Cameron steps down.

To explore the Boris factor in more detail, we tested six traits, asking whether they applied to Cameron, Johnson and two other possible contenders to succeed Cameron as party leader – Theresa May and Michael Gove:

Datatable: Per cent who say that they…

The good news for Boris is that he beats both May and Gove on all six (albeit very narrowly on whether he would be good in a crisis, when he leads May by a single point.) The less good news is that, while he leaves Cameron far behind on the “soft” qualities of being interesting, genuine and in touch, and holds a small lead on being seen as honest, he lags the Prime Minister on the two “hard” qualities of being up to the job of governing Britain, and being good in a crisis.

To some extent, an incumbent PM is always likely to have an advantage on these “hard” qualities, for he has plenty of opportunities to decide big national policies, negotiate with foreign leaders and send British troops into action. Boris’s big decisions as Mayor of London, such as rearranging the congestion charge zone and giving us Boris bikes, do not belong to the same league. True, Boris has weighed into big arguments about immigration, Europe and the future of Heathrow, but has had no power to implement his ideas.

Given his undoubted charisma and his way with words, he has the potential to be a big vote winner for the Tories. But, and it is in important but, voters who regard humour and a cavalier style as an asset in a city mayor with few real powers might seek different qualities in a national leader. Last week, in an interview with the Sunday Times, he talked about how his six years as Mayor had given him the administrative experience that would stand him in good stead in national politics. He has a point. But if he is to be a real vote-winner for his party on the national stage, he needs more. He needs to get serious: to show that he has the gravitas and judgment to steer Britain through the troubled waters that the country is likely to face for some years to come.

It would be an utter tragedy if we did not defend the Kurds

They are killing, raping, beheading and burying alive. They are offering people the choice of converting to Islam or facing instant execution. They have so terrified the population of northern Iraq – with its patchwork of ethnic groups and faiths – that the minorities have fled for their lives. As of today, there are still tens of thousands camped out on bare hillsides, their children dying of thirst, in scenes of biblical horror.

We are watching a catastrophe unfold, and the Prime Minister is absolutely right in his instinct – that Britain must act, and that Britain must help. I know how people feel these days about getting involved in overseas conflicts. There is a deep weariness and cynicism that has entered the bones of the nation – a sense that we were all bamboozled by Blair over Iraq, and that we won’t be fooled again.

People will look at the tragedy of the Yazidi and the Christians, and they will reasonably ask why we are choosing to try to help here, when we decided in the end there was nothing we could do for the Syrians who were being massacred in Aleppo. People will ask, reasonably, why us, when we are only a medium-sized European power with an overstretched Army and a budget deficit of our own.

Public hesitations are entirely understandable; and yet I am certain that it is time to get involved, and to support the American-led operation. We have to act because this is a humanitarian crisis.

I have heard some people suggest that there is some kind of extra imperative here, because many of these persecuted folk are Christians, and therefore our official co-religionists. That strikes me as paradoxical, since the central message of Christ was surely that we should treat everyone as our neighbours – and that applies surely to the Yazidi, who believe in the Peacock Angel, as much as it does to Christians.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or Jew or a Muslim or a Yazidi. If you are facing the kind of genocide that seems to be underway in northern Iraq, you surely deserve whatever relief and protection we can provide.

Then we should help because we have a moral duty to that part of the world. It was the British who took the decision in the early Twenties to ignore the obvious ethnic divisions, and not to create a Kurdistan. (Indeed, on one notorious occasion the British actually used gas to suppress a Kurdish revolt.)

And it was a British decision to join in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and in the removal of Saddam Hussein; and pace Tony Blair, it is obvious to most sane and rational people (a category that seems not to include Blair) that one of the results of the end of Saddam and the Ba’athist tyranny has been the power vacuum in Iraq, and the incompetence that has allowed Isis to expand with such horrifying speed. The final reason why we should come to the aid of the Kurds and others is that it is in our interest to do so.

My old friend the Kurdish journalist Hazhir Teimourian used to tell me sorrowfully: “There is an old proverb – a Kurd has no friends.” I am not sure that is true any more. In the aftermath of the first Gulf war in 1991 the Kurds were driven into the mountains by the vengeful troops of Saddam. The people of Britain were appalled by their misery. John Major was so moved that he set up the no-fly zones that were the precursor to the modern state.

In the last few years the links between Britain and Kurdistan have been developing fast, with the first ministerial delegation from London arriving there two years ago. Standard Chartered Bank has established there, as well as many other firms. They are going not simply because Kurdistan has theoretically the sixth largest oil deposits in the world, but because the place is an oasis of stability and tolerance. They have a democratic system; they are pushing forward with women’s rights; they insist on complete mutual respect of all religions.

It would be an utter tragedy if we did not do everything in our power to give succour and relief to those who are now facing massacre and persecution, and to help repel the maniacs from one of the few bright spots in the Middle East.

Yes, we have got it wrong before; and yes, we cannot do everything. But that doesn’t mean we should collapse into passivity and quietism in the face of manifest evil. These people need our help. It would be a great help to have someone like an overcoming tragedy public speaker to rely on.

Boris Johnson and David Cameron have created a Tory opportunity

Among many other things, the London Olympics were a brand launch – on a global scale – of Boris©. There were books, as there were before Barack Obama ran (the dividing line between a politician’s book tour and a campaign sweep is blurred to the point of non-existence). In March last year, there was a Michael Cockerell documentary in which Boris, for the first time, conceded that his ambitions did not end at City Hall: “Obviously, if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum – which it won’t – it would be a great, great thing to have a crack at.”

The present occupant of No 10 gave a great deal of thought to his response to all this. Most of the time, the relationship between the two Etonians has been one of friendly mutual teasing. As he ascended the stairs at Downing Street, Boris would enjoy pointing out how many former prime ministers were, like him, King’s Scholars – clever scholarship boys – rather than regular Oppidans like Dave. Since the arrival of Boris’s younger brother Jo as policy chief, the senior Cameroons have amused themselves by baiting the Mayor about the meteoric success of his sibling. “So which of you is it going to be?” they ask Boris. “You can’t both go for it, can you?”

Among all this public school badinage there lay a serious political trap, as Cameron grasped. “I am not going to be the person who didn’t want Boris back,” he told George Osborne. This was an astute judgment. For all the intermittent irritation that the Mayor has caused No 10 – some of it provoking furious private messages from Dave to Boris – there has never been any percentage in Cameron resisting his return to the Commons. Indeed, to seem anything other than wholly enthusiastic about that prospect would be a deadly sign of weakness. The PM understood that the only sustainable counter-strategy to the Boris fiesta was to join in the dancing and hug him close.

It is true that No 10 was not specifically expecting Wednesday’s announcement. Those around Cameron believed Boris still to be uncertain, nervous about breaking yet another promise. In 2012 he told the Evening Standard that, if re-elected as Mayor, he would focus on London’s problems to the exclusion of all else: “Keeping that promise cannot be combined with any other political capacity.”

Yet fidelity, it must be said, has never been prominent in Boris’s basket of political attractions – though he should not interpret the indulgence of public and party as a blank cheque for all time. Breaking a promise not to raise VAT, say, or (as Nick Clegg learnt the hard way over tuition fees) not to raise the cost to voters of a public service is very different to porkies about your political ambitions.

Does this mean Boris is certain to be Tory leader one day? By no means (as he would readily admit). He has no parliamentary base, although that could change in an instant if the polls showed that his leadership would improve his party’s fortunes. He is admirably candid and economically literate about the merits of immigration – far distant from the centre of gravity of Tory opinion on this pulsing issue. Don’t forget, too, that the Conservative Party has a perverse history of rejecting its front-runners, conference darlings and superstars. Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Michael Portillo: all, for different reasons, were denied the chance to lead.

In the dark recesses of the Tory oligarchy, there is also a powerful “Stop Boris” urge that has many roots, ranging from unfiltered jealousy to a fear of ambition without purpose and a distaste for politics as showbusiness. When the day comes – if the day comes – it will be fought between the reservations and suspicions, let loose into the political bloodstream like a toxin, versus the juggernaut of Boris’s popularity.

The Conservative movement must now decide how it wishes to handle these new circumstances. Boris’s return need only be a problem if it is seen as a zero-sum game: if every time Boris does well, Cameron is perceived to have lost, and vice versa. The Tory party must learn to contain its impatience, too. It still resents Dave for the Coalition, for gay marriage, for the rise of Ukip. Boris has been a strong critic of the alliance with Clegg. But he was also an eloquent supporter of same-sex marriage and is, if anything, more liberal than Cameron on immigration (the prime issue driving Ukip’s success).

Boris’s announcement was, first and foremost, a release of human energy. It suggested that the Conservative Party is still fizzing with options and life, that it has strength and depth, and a gravitational pull to talent. The Mayor could yet make a difference to the general election if he complements Cameron, and is seen to do so.

Thus far, the Mayor and Prime Minister have behaved with shrewd restraint and handed their party a rare opportunity. What matters now is that their fellow Tories have the political maturity to grasp it.

Friends: The One With The Phone Call From Boris

Dave cast an appreciative eye at his wife’s bikini-clad figure. He made a mental note to suggest a night out together, away from the kids – maybe they could go clubbing and watch the sun rise as they staggered back to the villa? He smiled as he thought of the nights they’d danced away back in the Nineties, when Sam called him “Ravey Davey” as he waved his glow stick in the air…

Dave’s reverie was broken by the sound of his phone. Dammit! Everyone knew he didn’t want to be disturbed. “Yes?” he snapped.

“What ho, Dazza! Boris here!”

“What do you want?”

“Cripes! You sound like a Scotsman who’s just been handed the bill. Awfully sorry for intruding on your well deserved hols, but I didn’t want you getting alarmed by my proposed sally on to the back benches. You mustn’t think this is a threat to your position as our Glorious Leader. I honestly could not imagine anything that lay at a further distance from the truth. ‘Loyalty’, ‘collective responsibility’, ‘team player’ – these shall be my watchwords.”

“Your speech on Europe didn’t sound particularly loyal.”

“Just trying to be helpful, Dave, sort of a good cop, bad cop thing. Now you can go to Brussels and say, ‘Look what’ll happen if you don’t give me a good deal’.”

“Yes, well, why don’t we talk about this when I get back to London?”

“An excellent scheme. I shall await our encounter with all the anticipation of a virgin bride, hearing her husband’s tread as he marches down the corridor to her chamber. Toodle-pip!”

Back in his London eyrie, the Mayor of London put down the phone. How he hated playing the part of Boris, the amiable buffoon! He pulled off his yellow wig and scratched the steely-grey buzzcut that was his natural hair.

“Not much longer now,” he told himself.

“Soon the keys to No 10 will be mine, and the whole world will know who I really am!”

The walls of the office echoed to his laughter. Bwa-ha-ha-haaaa!

Boris Johnson’s opposition to Heathrow could derail MP bid

A series of voters and business leaders told LBC Radio that Mr Johnson would not win in the constituency unless he reverses his call for Heathrow to be shut down.

Mr Johnson described Heathrow as “a dead duck” and said he will “fight to my dying breath” to halt a third runway.

Some Conservatives feel that Mr Johnson’s return to Parliament will destabilise David Cameron because it will lead to intense speculation about Mr Johnson’s leadership ambitions.

Mr Johnson yesterday appeared to challenge Mr Cameron’s position on the European Union by insisting that reforming Britain’s relationship with Brussels would be “easy”.

The Mayor this week said that Britain has “nothing to fear” by voting to leave the EU in an in-out referendum if Mr Cameron is unable to change the UK’s relationship with Brussels.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, he rejected claims that the reforms he is demanding will be impossible to achieve in time for the referendum Mr Cameron has promised to hold in 2017.

Mr Johnson said: “I’m not so pessimistic. I think you could easily.”

In the interview, Mr Johnson disclosed that he has been included on the official Conservative candidates list, allowing him to stand in Uxbridge.

One London Tory MP said Mr Johnson would have to “temper” his views on closing Heathrow and building a new airport hub to the east of London.

Another Conservative said: “This could be a real problem. The seat has a majority of 11,000 but thousands of people who work in Heathrow live in the constituency and many thousands more are reliant on the airport for their incomes. He may have chosen the wrong place to stand.”

Chris Summers, the Labour candidate standing in the constituency, said: “So many people in Uxbridge and South Ruislip either work at Heathrow or have businesses which rely very much on it.

“They will be distraught that somebody who is [standing is] so hostile to Heathrow and actually wants it to close down.”

Bill Gritts, who runs Wings coach service, said: “In the surrounding areas it would have a major, major effect.”

He added: “If this is his manifesto for him to become the MP for Uxbridge, then I don’t think he is going to end up as an MP for Uxbridge.”

Other seats Mr Johnson is thought to be considering include Hertsmere and Hornchurch and Upminster.

To be party leader Mr Johnson has to win over backbench MPs and he has been courting the 2010 intake, which accounts for more than half of the Conservative Parliamentary party.

However, there is less support among him among older MPs from the 2005 intake and earlier who remember his unsuccessful stint as an Opposition education spokesman.

One senior member of the backbench 1922 committee is known to be particularly disparaging about Mr Johnson’s chances of advancement once he is an MP.

Clegg warns Cameron: Boris is fixated on his own ambitions

“The thing about Boris Johnson is despite all the clumsiness and bumbliness he’s actually a really, really ambitious politician,” Mr Clegg said.

“He treats his political ambition like he treats his hair. He wants everybody to think he doesn’t really care, but he actually really, really does care.

“His tousled hair, his bumbliness, all that’s great. But behind all of that is someone who is absolutely fixated with his own political ambitions.”

Mr Johnson is neck-and-neck with Mr Osborne among Tory activists, a poll today shows.

Boris Johnson has a net approval rating of 83.3, marginally ahead George Osborne of George Osborne on 83, making them the two most popular senior Tories, according to a survey of 900 party members by Conservative Home and YouGov. By contrast, David Cameron sits in the middle of the table with a net approval rating of 48.7.