Mayor Boris Johnson denied seat in UK's new cabinet

11th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, newly elected to parliament with ambitions to one day lead Britain, was on Monday appointed to a senior political role but not to a seat in Prime Minister David Cameron's new cabinet.

Announcing the make-up of his new government in the wake of Thursday's general election victory for the Conservatives, Cameron said Johnson was not being given a ministerial job because he still had a year to go until he left City Hall in 2016.

"As promised, he will devote his attention to his final year as mayor of London," the prime minister announced on Twitter.

As a consolation prize, however, Johnson will attend separate meetings of Cameron's "political cabinet", a gathering of senior Conservatives.

Johnson, one of the stars of his party, was elected on Thursday as member of parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London, seven years after quitting the House of Commons to become mayor.

Returning to the Commons was a crucial step to fulfilling his long-held ambition to one day lead the Conservative party and become prime minister -- although that ambition has currently been put on hold.

Opinion polls before the election all pointed to the likelihood that Cameron would not win enough seats to stay in power, a situation that could have sparked a leadership challenge against him.

In the event, the Conservatives won a majority in the Commons and Cameron remains in Downing Street with a strong mandate to govern for the next five years.

Known simply as Boris, with his distinctive shock of white blond hair and untidy appearance, Johnson has a popular appeal that goes well beyond his party's base.

He is regularly mobbed by people wanting a selfie in the street, and won two terms as mayor, no mean feat in the largely Labour-supporting capital.

Like Cameron, the 50-year-old was educated at the elite Eton school and the University of Oxford.

But unlike the prime minister, Johnson wears his aristocratic links and privileged background with pride, regularly quoting Latin and playing up to the image of a bumbling toff.

Cameron announced during the election campaign that he would not stay on as Tory leader beyond 2020, and named Johnson as one of his potential successors along with finance minister George Osborne and interior minister Theresa May.

Johnson's appointment to the political cabinet allows him to maintain a profile in the Conservative party until he stands down as mayor, when he will likely be made a minister.


© 2015 AFP

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