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Boris Johnson v. David Cameron

2:59 PM, Jun 19, 2008 • By JAIME SNEIDER
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A new biography of Boris Johnson reveals how David Cameron stifled Johnson's rise in Parliament, and might have inadvertently created a challenger to head the Conservative Party of Britain. Many assume the two are friends, because they attended both Eton and Oxford together.

At the party conference in the autumn of 2006 he had stolen the show from Cameron and, although Boris had tried to behave himself since, the Tory leader knew his unruly colleague would be unable to resist stealing the show again if given half a chance. It would be madness to select such an unreliable figure as a champion of the new conservatism.

So various implausible people, such as Lord Coe and Lord Stevens, were approached to ask if they would consider becoming the Conservative candidate. But, after a prolonged search, the best the Tories could come up with was Greg Dyke, former director-general of the BBC and best known for having introduced Roland Rat, a glove puppet, to viewers of breakfast television.

Would a true friend nominate a puppeteer to run for office in your place? I don't think so.

What spurred him was growing doubt about whether he was going to get anywhere under Cameron. That doubt was confirmed in the clearest way on July 2, 2007 when the party leader reshuffled his team.

Cameron chose Michael Gove, who had only arrived at the Commons in 2005, and during their time at Oxford had been happy to act as Boris's stooge. Boris, who had been in the Commons since 2001, was left with his old job. Having looked for love from Cameron, he found himself kept at a chilly distance.