If David Cameron is Prime Minister after the next election, he will surely want to find a place for Boris Johnson in his Cabinet – coalition or no coalition. This would be so even were there not a rapprochement between George Osborne and the Mayor – on the former’s part, at any rate – though tales that the Chancellor has decided to back Boris in a leadership election, if Cameron does not make it back to Downing Street, are exaggerated.
But what Cabinet post could the Mayor possibly accept, given his responsibilities? After all, he is not due to relinquish his post until 2016. He could perhaps sit it out on the backbenches for about six months after May – and then quit the mayoralty without triggering a by-election. However, such manoeuvring would be distinctly shabby.
Here is a suggestion. If the Conservatives lead a government post-May, Boris becomes Party Chairman – with the right to attend Cabinet, just as Grant Shapps does now. The Chairmanship is a party post, not a Government job. Taking it would not breach his promise to London’s voters – especially if he served unpaid. He would ginger CCHQ up while Andrew Feldman continued to manage it – and, who knows, a second election may follow in the autumn.
And in due course – or, rather, after the next Mayoral election – Boris could step up to head a department in the job we have long recommended: Secretary of State for B.I.S.C.U.I.T.S.*
* Business, Industrial Strategy, Cities, Universities, Infrastructure, Transport and Skills.