Boris in Parliament? Good news for London’s businesses

Leon Emirali

Senior Political Counsellor

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson confirmed today that he will “probably” seek a return to parliament as an MP in 2015.

As news outlets have been reporting for what seems like years, Boris is likely to complete his final year as Mayor whilst also representing a constituency in the Commons.

Despite Labour’s last Mayor, Ken Livingstone, setting the precedent for splitting his time between being an MP and Mayor of London, Johnson has faced criticism from the opposition claiming that London will be void of leadership should he take a role in the Commons.

But if Boris stood in a London Parliamentary seat, would his proposed job-share provide a boost for London’s business community?

Regardless of your politics, few can question that Boris has been a successful cheerleader for London. He has consistently and doggedly lobbied the government for further investment in the capital, as well as presiding over an unprecedented period of growth in the city. This is highlighted by Transport for London (TfL) safeguarding a £16 billion windfall to fund Crossrail, the global profile enjoyed by London at the 2012 Olympics and Tech City’s rip-roaring success.

Johnson’s calls to attract the ‘best and brightest’ in business to the UK may help soften what some see as the government’s sometimes growth-stifling stance on immigration. His innovative support of small business, such as plans to turn disused garages into business space for start-ups, will also boost the government’s agenda to help SMEs.

A backs-against-the-wall and sleeves-rolled-up approach to adversity, as demonstrated by the Mayor’s response to the 2011 riots and recent tube strikes, will add energy and dynamism to the Conservative-led economic recovery.

Polls show that Johnson is popular figure amongst grassroots Conservatives as well as the wider public. Therefore he can spend less political capital on driving through much-needed business rates reform than the likes of Cameron and Osborne, without being accused of ‘cosying up to cronies in big business’.

With Johnson sitting in the Commons, or possibly the cabinet, London’s industry will secure another valuable and articulate voice right at the heart of decision-making.

Leon Emirali is an Account Manager in PLMR’s cross-party team of consultants. Leon stood as a Conservative Party candidate in London’s 2014 elections. 

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