Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on the first day of the Conservative party conference, David Cameron stated that he was "relatively relaxed" about the prospect of being upstaged by fellow Etonian Boris Johnson. Just how relaxed, however, was anyone's guess. So, when the Mayor of London arrived at Birmingham's New Street Station on Monday evening to be greeted by public cheers of "Boris! Boris! Boris!", one suspects that Mr Cameron may not have felt quite so tranquil. Mobbed by the media on his arrival, the scenes surrounding Mr Johnson were quite extraordinary in contrast to the arrival of the Prime Minister. At the front of the queue were Sky News's Joey Jones and James Landale from the BBC who were the first from a packed crowd to get a quote from the Mayor. Although Boris has stressed that he intends to finish his Mayoral role, when asked, he has not directly rejected the idea of one day leading the Conservative party. Considering this and his ever growing popularity, it is perhaps understandable why he received a rock star-esque welcome from the waiting media.
First on Boris's agenda was a fringe meeting on Monday evening in which he once again emphasised his loyalty to David Cameron. Speaking to the conference the Mayor said, "No one should doubt my admiration for David Cameron", and he went on to commend the work of the Prime Minister who continues to lead the country through increasingly difficult times.
The main event, however, was this morning. In a light and carefully shaped speech, the Mayor spoke of loyalty and positivity, ignoring the rumours of his possible leadership ambitions. Boris gave off a sense of optimism whilst speaking and promoted Britain as a "can do" country following the success of the London Olympic Games - an achievement of which he uncharacteristically gave credit to the Labour party and specifically his rival, Ken Livingstone.
Ever the joker, Boris came to the stage with a number of lines, a few of which engaged David Cameron. In describing the Mayor as a "blonde-haired mop" at the start of the conference, Boris hit back and said that if so, Cameron was the "broom" sweeping up the mess of the previous government. Going one step further, Mr Johnson stressed his support to education secretary Michael Gove whose new policy of free schools in London have included lessons in Latin - a joke fired at Cameron who failed to know the translation of the Magna Carter on the Late Show whilst being interviewed by American chat show host David Letterman last month.
On a more serious level, the Mayor relayed a list of his achievements to date and demonstrated how London has evolved under his direction. Speaking from core Tory principles, Boris stated that Britain needs to move forwards through the age of austerity to what he described as the "Age of Enterprise". Clearly focussing on small businesses and the many workers who continue to struggle in our current economic climate, Boris reiterated the need to get our country back to prosperity, highlighting the Conservative slogan "Britain Can Deliver". Once again stealing the limelight on centre stage, Boris Johnson has lifted the spirit of the Tory party conference and has unsurprisingly hit the headlines whilst doing so. Does he secretly have ambitions of one day leading the Conservatives? Let's see where we are in 2016.
By Emily Stacey