Not being a Londoner, I've only been following the mayoral race as an outsider but it appears Livingstone's been far more visible on the ground than Johnson, who seems to be hoping his wacky persona will be enough to help him coast to victory. There's also the question of just how much Johnson really wants to win another term - the Guardian's Wintour and Watt say he's being lined up for an ultra-safe Tory seat (and presumably a shot at the leadership when Cameron eventually cracks). Apparently the locals are more than a little peeved that their current MP, Crispin Blunt, has turned out to be A Gay.
Tories in Surrey are lining Johnson up to be the party's candidate in Reigate, a safe Tory seat, at the next general election. This news will probably come as a disappointment to Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister, who held the seat with a majority of 13,591 at the last general election.But Blunt, who was first elected for Reigate at the 1997 election, upset his local Conservative association in 2010 when he announced that he was leaving his wife as he was "coming to terms with his homosexuality"
. Members of the Reigate Tory association feel sympathy for Blunt's wife, Victoria, who was said to be devastated by his announcement. The association also expects Blunt to be sacked as one of Kenneth Clarke's ministers in the next reshuffle after he lost the confidence of Downing Street in a row over parties for prisoners shortly after the 2010 election.
Johnson denied last week that he would stand for parliament in 2015 if he wins the mayoral contest in May. He told the Sun:
I really don't see how I can run for Parliament in 2015. Let's kill this. I'm ruling myself out.
But Reigate may appear a more attractive prospect if Johnson finds himself with a bit more time on his hands in May. Two successive polls in recent days have given Livingstone a narrow lead.
Many Tories believe that Johnson would still want to stand for parliament in 2015 even if he wins in London in May. This would mean he would make a triumphant return to parliament a year before his second term as mayor would end in 2016.