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Boriswatch - Tracking Mayor Boris Johnson every step of the way
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An explanation

Dear Boriswatch,

What’s Up with Boriswatch? Has it ceased to be?
I note it is not being kept up to date. (sobs)



Hi Diana,

Firstly, apologies for not replying to this contact for around 8 months. As you can see, I kept it – I planned to reply for all of this time!
That gives you an indication of how full my life has become. When I started Boriswatch, I had a simple job, no relationship and all the time in the world to explore the phenomenon of Boris.
Now, I have a full-time occupation, a fiancee, 2 cats, 1 dog, 3 children and a house that needs a lot of renovation. There’s barely enough time to meet with friends, let alone maintain the sites I was maintaining in their heyday.
Combine that with Boris being “managed” more than before – less (if any) gaffes, a serious job, and news stories that can rarely be made light of – and Boriswatch does not have the fodder it once had.
So, in essence – it’s dormant. When Boris is less important, I imagine that there’s be more to talk about. Hopefully, I will have made millions and retired by then.
But I thank you for asking, and for checking. Keep checking. You never know…
Simon @ Boriswatch

“Not Exactly A Job”

Zero Hours ContractHere at Boriswatch HQ we all have quite a few jobs. Our Legal Advisor has been known to deliver pizza on his moped in his lunch hour while our Head of News arrives in the morning wearing her Lollipop Lady coat. Making ends meet sometimes requires commitment, but how many jobs is ‘too many jobs?’

For example, we’re not sure that anyone at Boriswatch HQ could be both a Member of Parliament and the Mayor of one of the world’s most important cities. Even if we could, it would be unlikely that we could then write a weekly newspaper column on a six-figure contract. And even if we were able to manage it, could we then also manage to be a best-selling author?

Unlike us mere mortals, Boris seems to manage all of these various jobs. And, this week, he appears to be slightly miffed that he hasn’t been given yet another job to take his CV into a 43rd page. Whilst being invited to become part of David Cameron’s new ‘Political Cabinet’, the Prime Minster stopped short of giving Boris a full ministerial position. Quite reasonably, the PM said this would let Bozza “devote his attention to his final year as Mayor of London”.

Boris clearly has time on his hands, however, as he seemed less than impressed by being ignored for the position of, say, Home Secretary. When asked by The Independent whether he was happy with his new role, Mr Johnson replied: “Well it’s not exactly a job, is it?” striking ‘a rather disgruntled tone’.

The Mayor then controversially declared that his new Cabinet post was a ‘zero-hours contract’. “It is a zero-hours contract. It is definitely not a job. I have accepted a role that Miliband wanted to ban,” added the new MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

What do you think? Should Boris have been given a senior position, or should he wait until his Mayorship ends?

Late night taxi rides from City Hall to the Commons

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Boris thumbs upThe next step on Boris’ journey to the centre of British politics was taken on Friday as the Mayor of London was duly returned as the new Member of Parliament for the constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Bozza won the seat comfortably with a majority of 10,705 to return to the House of Commons for the first time since 2008.

It will be a busy 12 months for Boris who has vowed to combine his duties in the Commons with his high-profile role as Mayor of London, having said that he continue with the job at City Hall until his term ends in May next year. With the Conservatives boasting such a small majority, it could involve a lot of late-night dashes to the lobby as every Tory vote will be crucial.

Following the announcement of his victory, Boris said: “It’s been a long and exciting evening and obviously I’m very excited by some of the results that are coming through. Sad about others, but overall it’s been an amazing night for the Conservatives when you consider where we were and what the polls were saying only a few hours ago.

“It’s a remarkable turnaround. I think the people of this country want to go forward with that long-term economic plan for the benefit of everybody in this constituency and across the entire country.

‘To that end, I renew my pledge to work absolutely flat-out. I believe we have a lot to do, folks, but it is clear to me the people of this country have voted for a programme of economic common sense to take Britain forward.”

Boris won 22,511 votes, ahead of Labour’s Chris Summers, a BBC journalist, with 11,816. UKIP candidate Jack Duffin, 23, was third with 6,346, ahead of Liberal Democrat Michael Francis Cox with 2,215.

On a great night for the Conservatives, Boris joined 300 other Tory MPs who won their seats, giving the party their first overall Parliamentary majority in a General Election since 1992. David Cameron’s surprise triumph is great news for the Tories although it does mean that Boris’ leadership ambitions may have to be put on the back burner for a while.

The Daily Mail reports that ‘had the poll predictions proved right and the Conservatives stumbled, it might have given Mr Johnson the chance to wrestle the leadership away from Mr Cameron’ although this now looks extremely unlikely.

Boris appeals to Guardian voters to vote Tory

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20a62654-cca7-49cb-a643-3969a0d163ad-620x413The persuasiveness of Boris knows no bounds. Boris has been unleashed in the last few weeks at key London districts to swing the vote towards the Tories, and it seems they’ve been lapping it up. “Boris is now a preference to anyone else” that Conservative central office could send to help, including the prime minister, says one insider.

The increasingly windswept Bozza has even appealed to the staunchly liberal Guardian readers to come over the fence and join him.

Boris is now the Tories’ not-so-secret weapon. And when the hung parliament rocks up tomorrow, he will be there to pick up the pieces, no doubt…

Mayor In A Reasonably Priced Car

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Boris Top GearIt would be fair to say that Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘sacking’ from the BBC didn’t come as much of a surprise. Clarkson has been sailing quite close to the wind in recent years and the final straw – a ‘fracas’ with a Top Gear producer over the lack of a hot meal – has finally seen the 54 year old lose his job on the popular BBC2 show.

Yet the corporation need not worry. If they are looking for an outspoken, middle-aged man to take up the reins on the insanely popular motoring show then they need look no further than the Mayor of London who, this week, has thrown his hat into the ring for the job.

During his regular Q&A session with Twitter followers under the hashtag #askboris, Boris described himself as a “mega Clarkson fan”. He added that he’d “def let his name go forward” to replace the presenter.

In the past, Bozza has been a major advocate of the journalist and Top Gear presenter, calling him a “great man” and saying that he had the “right idea” to stand for Parliament when contemplating challenging Ed Miliband in Doncaster.

Johnson could be part of a new three-man ‘dream team’ to take over the hosting of the show, if a tweet from journalist/TV host Piers Morgan is anything to go by. When news of Clarkson’s sacking broke, Morgan suggested the new Top Gear team could include both Boris and Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans. Morgan tweeted: “Shall we go for it, lads @Chris Evans @MayorofLondon? #TopGear #NewDreamTeam.”

The bookies aren’t convinced that Boris is the man for the job, however. He has been installed as a 100/1 outsider, behind even Nigel Farage in the betting (the UKIP leader is a 50/1 chance). If you’re planning to have a flutter on Boris, you may be better served investing your money in backing him to be the next Tory leader (especially after David Cameron’s words this week) at a much more likely 5/2.

Boris’ Jihadi headlines are not the whole story

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Boris handBoris has hit the headlines again this morning, commenting on the mindset of the Jihadi threats recently. Boris has an eye for a soundbite, and he’s delivered several to get his article talked about. But if people actually read the article – published cleverly in The Sun, a right-wing often-outspoken tabloid – they’ll find that there’s a lot of thougthful analysis that may seen less extreme than the headings make out.

The Sun are also probably cock-a-hoop. The link above hits their paywall, and I’m sure there’s be a boost i signups today…

Have you read the article? Do you find it offensive?

Mid Air Drama

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Boris Malaysia AirYou may remember that a few months back, Boris was involved in an astonishing incident aboard a Malaysia Air flight.  The Mayor was forced to step in during a 13 hour flight back to the UK after a fellow passenger in first class became abusive and assaulted a member of staff.

Well, the man – 43 year old David Morris – has now been sentenced and the Mayor’s testimony formed part of the court hearing.

Morris, described as ‘off his head’ by one of Bozza’s entourage, had drunk a considerable amount of beer, whisky and wine before launching a physical attack on the cabin crew. Boris assisted the flight crew in tackling and restraining the engineer who was handcuffed and arrested on his arrival in London.

As part of the court proceedings, a statement from the Mayor explained how the man had to be restrained for the safety of other passengers. He said: “Myself and a few other passengers felt we needed to keep an eye on the male the whole time as we were worried about the safety of the crew and other passengers. I could tell people were stressed by the male’s behaviour.”

During the incident at 35,000 feed the Mayor’s technology ambassador, Eileen Burbidge, tweeted a picture showing five members of the crew tackling the man: ‘so impressed w/MH2 cabin crew (Kuala Lumpur-LHR); amazing professionalism/handling of passenger who was off his head.’

Morris was given a six-month jail sentence for being drunk in an aeroplane and a four-month sentence, to run concurrently, for assault by beating.

The Paddington Trail

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Boris PaddingtonQuite what UKIP would make of Paddington Bear, we’re not sure. A Peruvian immigrant taken in by a London family, the newly orphaned bear  arrived in the UK illegally (he stowed away on a boat) and, as far as we recall, doesn’t work for a living. Presumably the Brown family also claim benefits for him.

Anyway, his status as an immigrant notwithstanding, there’s a new film coming out featuring the loveable character. Ahead of the release of the new movie, the Paddington Trail has been unveiled in London. Fifty lifesized Paddingtons will be unveiled at landmarks across London to mark the launch of the film – and each of the bears has been designed by a celebrity.

Benedict Cumberbatch has created a Sherlock Bear (of course) while Hugh Bonneville’s Paddington tells the story of marmalade. Michael Sheen’s is a Shakes-Bear while David Beckham’s effort is, naturally, Golden-paws.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Boris has designed a bear with London scenes all over him imaginatively named The Bear of London. Rather than his trademark duffel coat, Bozza’s Paddington sports Big Ben, a cable car, the Gherkin, the Palace of Westminster, the Post Office Tower and (homage to the bear’s creator), a Tube sign saying Bond Street. And, if you look closely enough, you’ll see a familiarly tousle-haired blond figure, pedalling away on a Boris bike.

The aim is to get fans of Paddington on the hunt to find all 50 of the bears. And, on a more serious note, many of the bespoke-built Paddingtons are to be auctioned off to raise funds for the work of Action Medical Research (Paddington has been helping them for more than three decades), as well as ChildLine and the NSPCC.

“Paddington had the good fortune to be found by Mr and Mrs Brown, who gave him love and a safe space to grow up,” says Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC. “And that’s something that every young person deserves.”

You can find out more about the Paddington Trail here and if you want to catch Boris’ bear, you’ll find him neat the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. If he hasn’t been deported by the Border Agency, of course.


Boris turns Good Samaritan

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Boris ballBoris was on a plane this week, as we’re sure he is for many of his weeks. But this time, a drunken passenger was disturbing him. Boris sat next to him, tried to appease him, and then had to make a rapid withdrawal when things to took a turn for the awkward.

Here the full skinny on the episode.

Boris. What a guy.

Lizards and lycra

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Picture from The Daily Telegraph
Picture from The Daily Telegraph

I daresay that there are many people that would scuttle into the undergrowth if the Mayor of London tried to grab their behind. We don’t have any evidence to support this [Please say ‘allegedly’ – Boriswatch Legal Advisor] although there has been one incident of rear-touching-scurrying-action on the latest stage of Boris’ World Tour.

The Mayor is in the Far East on a UK trade mission and one of the stops involved an encounter with a large lizard at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Apparently, London’s Kew Gardens has a long history with its Singaporean cousin as it provided 22 para rubber seedlings in 1877 – kick-starting south east Asia’s rubber industry.

“Poor little lizard, being chased around,” said Mr Johnson who, according to the Telegraph, ‘gave the lizard the fright of its life.’

Pestering lizards is not all that Boris has been doing on his trip. The Mayor took his ‘portly figure’ (as the Mail called it) on a bike ride with the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, a man who ended up leading his country after taking office as the Governor of its largest city (a career path that Bozza will have no doubt noted with interest).

Boris said: “‘I’m delighted to be back in Jakarta. I want to try and help cement our strong bilateral relations with Indonesia and further discussion on trade and business opportunities between two great and growing capital cities.

“I’m looking forward to sharing our experience of running the Olympic Games with the president as Indonesia prepares to host the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.”

Next stop: Bothering a crocodile in Malaysia. Probably.

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