In his large, eighth-floor office in London’s City Hall, with its phalanx of computer screens and its views over the Thames, Boris Johnson is plotting his re-election campaign. In May, he will take on, once again, Labour’s Ken Livingstone for the mayoralty of the capital: four years after Mr Johnson swept to victory on the back of 1.1 million votes, the biggest direct personal mandate in British political history.
Mr Johnson was a controversial choice for the Conservatives at the time. David Cameron urgently needed a colourful candidate, with the charisma to show that his party could win big contests after more than a decade of defeat, but Mr Johnson’s career in journalism, and then as a Tory MP, had already marked him out as a major loose cannon.
As Mayor, many feel he has spent as much, if not more, time, taking potshots at his party’s high command as he has changing the lives of Londoners. He is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Mr Cameron as Tory leader – even though he describes the chances of this happening as the same as his being “reincarnated as Elvis”.
The Sunday Telegraph asked him about his plans and what motivates him in politics and in life.