Boris Johnson 'could replace Richard Ottaway as Croydon South MP' at next elections
BORIS Johnson could stand for election as the MP for the south of the borough in an ambitious bid to become Prime Minister.
A group of Tory backbenchers is eyeing the "safe" Croydon South constituency as a potential route for the London mayor – increasingly tipped to become David Cameron's successor – to return to Parliament.
The seat, which would become less safe if boundary changes go ahead, is currently held by Richard Ottaway. However, there is widespread speculation among local party members that he is planning to stand down at the next election.
Mr Ottaway, who had a majority of just under 16,000 in the 2010 General Election, was this week tight-lipped about potentially passing the reins to Mr Johnson.
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He told the Advertiser he was not prepared to comment on any speculation about either his or the mayor's future, adding: "We are not halfway through this Parliament yet and we don't know what is happening with the boundaries.
"In due course all these matters will be resolved."
The Croydon South constituency is reportedly one of three being looked at by Boris's potential kingmakers, according to Tory sources.
The other two are Mole Valley, now represented by former Croydon Central MP Sir Paul Beresford, and Reigate and Banstead, where Crispin Blunt holds the seat.
Senior local Conservatives the Advertiser spoke to acknowledged there was speculation about the plan.
But they claimed there had been no formal discussion about Mr Johnson becoming an MP in Croydon.
The Tories nationally are not undertaking any selection processes until it has been decided whether the boundary reforms will continue.
Nevertheless, one senior Tory did say this week they believed that if Mr Ottaway stood down, his seat would be one Mr Johnson would look at if he wanted to return as an MP.
They added: "Whether or not the constituency boundary changes, we'd be looking for a high-profile candidate. I think Boris Johnson would be a favourite."
A poll of party members conducted by website Conservative Home last month rated Mr Johnson the preferred choice for new leader with 32 per cent of the vote. His nearest competitor was William Hague with 24 per cent.
Chancellor George Osborne received just two per cent of the vote.