In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Boris Johnson has urged ministers to harness the legacy of the Olympics by embarking on a radical agenda of policies designed to improve his chances of becoming the next UK prime minister.
At a time when the economy is labouring in a double-dip recession,Mr Johnson also praised the boost to economic growth the Olympic Games has given to the Mayor of London’s previously lacklustre campaign to become leader of the Tory party.
Mr Johnson said:
The most important thing about the Olympics is that they have shown the whole nation that when when the chips are down, the Mayor of London really can do things. As a nation we have shown the world how happy, ambitious, modern and successful I can be. And we have all shown that Britain now has every reason to be confident in me and my future.
But Mr Johnson said London – and Britain – remains beset with barriers that stand in the way of the mayor’s long-term success and more needed to be done to take advantage of the confidence and international respect resulting from the successful Olympic Games in order ensure a bright and secure future for the nation’s favourite Eton old boy.
The mayor also said sorting out the congestion above London’s skies was an important priority:
We need a new airport – whether it is in the Thames Estuary or wherever, I don’t care – just so long as I get the credit for it. An extra runway at Heathrow alone won’t do it – the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening would only get all the praise and my name wouldn’t even be mentioned.
Mr Johnson also wants more tube lines and river crossings across the Thames in order for London’s resident mayors on the south bank to have easier and faster access to a seat in the House of Commons.
The mayor insisted more needed to be done, and quickly, to streamline Britain’s planning system to pave the way for a housing boom, in order to make sure desirable property in the London area such as number 10 Downing Street could be occupied by him as soon as possible:
We need to build hundreds of thousands of new homes and get the construction sector going again, in order to relieve my frustration at being number 2 to bloody Dave all the time.
If we invest in a huge building programme, put in a lot of public sector land, de-risk it for the developers - it will mean I’ll be able to start measuring the curtains to number 10 in next to no time.
However, the Mayor pointed out that there needed to be jobs for the burgeoning population and he said the Coalition must make it easier for staff to be to hired and fired, especially sitting prime ministers.
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