Could Boris Johnson be next for Croydon South?
RICHARD Ottaway's decision to step aside as MP for Croydon South could offer Boris Johnson the perfect ticket back into the House of Commons.
The Advertiser reported this summer how senior Tories were looking at the seat - along with two others in Surrey - as possible ways of getting the current Mayor of London back into parliament at the next election.
This is due to take place in 2015 - a year before Johnson's current tenure as mayor expires.
However, political commentators have this morning suggested the idea of Johnson keeping two jobs for a year would be much easier to sell if his parliamentary seat is also within London, rather than the alternative options of Reigate and Banstead or Mole Valley, also put forward by Tory top brass.
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Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell - himself linked with a move to the safe South seat - appears to drop a not so subtle hint that Johnson may be in line for the constituency, when discussing his new found seniority among Croydon's three MP's.
In his blog published in the wake of Mr Ottaway's announcement on Friday night, he writes: "If I am re-elected at the next election, it is going to be strange being the most experienced one (unless, that is, a former MP applies for Richard's seat - but I can't think of anyone that might be interested, can you?)"
Leading political commentators, including Sky's Jon Craig, have already linked Johnson's name with the seat - Craig describing it as a "golden opportunity" for the London mayor to make a "spectacular Commons comeback", as he ultimately eyes a tilt at the Tory leadership and, perhaps, Number 10.
Other names being linked to the safe Tory seat include GLA member and Kenley councillor Steve O' Connell and youth worker Shaun Bailey, who lost in Hammersmith at the 2010 election, despite being one of David Cameron's 'A-list' candidates.
Mr Ottaway, 67, announced on Friday night he'd be standing down as an MP at the next election.
He has served Croydon South since 1992 and currently holds a huge majority of nearly 16,000.
Announcing his departure to party activists in Purley, he said: " I love every minute of my job. But I feel now is the right time to call it a day. I would like to spend time with my family and enjoy my hobbies while I still can."
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