Boris Johnson said there’s “no time for false modesty” in a policy document setting out his vision for London, as he said he wouldn’t seek a new term as mayor and declined to rule out running for the Tory party leadership.
Johnson said today Prime Minister David Cameron’s government should invest in London as the “supercharged motor” of the U.K.’s recovery, putting spending into infrastructure projects such as a new hub airport, with further housing needed to keep the capital “firing on all cylinders.”
The mayor’s blueprint suggests a new four-runway airport and calls on Cameron to immediately rule out a third runway for Heathrow, the existing hub, a decision the premier has delayed until after the next election in 2015.
“After the wretched decades of the mid-20th century -- when investment in transport was stifled -- we are now back in what some (the optimists) would call a Golden Age,” Johnson wrote in the document published today. “We are in the throes of a neo-Victorian surge of investment in mass transit. It is absolutely vital that we do not stop.”
Buoyed by re-election in May last year and the success of the London Olympics, the bicycling mayor has increasingly been touted by Conservative activists as a possible successor to Cameron, whose poll ratings have fallen. Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule himself out as a future Conservative leader.
Asked by Sky News what he would be doing in 2020, Johnson replied he would be “productively engaged doing heaven knows what.”
“This is the beginning of Boris’s long goodbye to London as his attention turns elsewhere,” the leader of the opposition Labour group on the London Assembly, Len Duvall, said in a statement on his website today. “Many of the aims in the report are laudable, but the mayor’s failure to deliver any of this in the last five years doesn’t fill us with confidence that he’ll do them in his last three.”
Johnson repeated a call for London to be allowed more control over property taxes -- including stamp duty on home purchases -- to provide the certainty needed for housing investment. He also said there is no point “bashing or vindictively regulating” the financial sector.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Eddie Buckle at email@example.com