Latest polls say more than half of the voters in Uxbridge and South Ruslip would vote for Boris Johnson if he stood, according to the Guardian newspaper.
Polling activity appears to have stepped up in recent days, and a number of people contacted getwestlondon.co.uk last week to say they had been asked by phone about their voting intentions.
The Guardian data – from pollster Lord Ashcroft’s organisation and published on Saturday, August 16 – shows that if the Mayor of London were to stand in the seat vacated by Sir John Randall, fully 52 per cent of voters would put a cross against his name.
In comparison, Labour would only get 23 per cent and UKIP 16.
The Boris factor is clearly key to the numbers if not the outcome: voting intentions in general, without his name on the ballot paper, were 42 per cent, 28 per cent and 19 per cent respectively, still a clear Tory win in a seat that returned an 11,000 majority at the last general election, but in light of the new poll figures there is ample encouragement, if it were needed, for a hotly tipped candidate-in-waiting who has yet to declare.
Sir John told the Evening Standard last week that Boris ‘was not a shoo-in’, and said he felt association members would not be swayed by Boris’s high profile.
“I don’t get the feeling they are like some constituencies who’d think: ‘Wouldn’t it be great, we’ll be famous’,” he told the Standard.
But with odds a week or so ago putting Boris 1-2 on to select Uxbridge, Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: “As and when [Boris] confirms, we may as well close betting on who will win the seat.”
So the ‘gang of five’ association members, all Hillingdon Council Conservatives, who will have to draw up the candidate short-list, must ask themselves: ‘Would Boris be best for the constituency as a hard-working MP or just because he is ‘Boris’?’
Could he do two jobs for a year? And could we bear to be the ones who turned him down?
Because if Boris does get the nod on Friday, September 12, when the association meets to name their candidate, who could stop him?