5 News

Boris to the rescue?

David Cameron needs something to break the narrative which has set in since the budget.

Boris to the rescue?

Is Boris about to rescue Dave? David Cameron has had a crushingly bad couple of weeks since the budget, with almost every aspect of it appearing to unravel.

The row over donations to charities is just the latest example but it seems to be repeating a pattern whereby even people who should be your friends line up to tell you it's a big mistake. When even people like Lord Harris - a friend and adviser to Cameron for some time - tells 5 News the cap on donations is wrong, you know it's time for a re-think.

So David Cameron needs something to break the narrative which has set in since the budget and his old Bullingdon Club chum Boris Johnson may be the man to do it.

They do have a prickly relationship.

The PM told me that once he actually ended up having a bit of a wrestle with the London mayor when Boris tried to grab a piece of paper David Cameron was holding - the paper detailed how much money London might get from central government and Boris wanted to see it. David Cameron says he won the tussle.

That incident provides a handy metaphor for their broader relationship.  There's clearly some good natured rivalry between them, based on a friendship that goes back to school days, but at the bottom of it all there is a real edge. The Prime Minister's team understand that in the election campaign for London mayor, Boris has to show that he is ready to stand up to the government; they just get irritated when he seems to enjoy doing this a little too much.

But right now they are urging Boris on. The best way to shift attention away from the government's troubles and on to the opposition is for Boris to trounce Labour's candidate Ken Livingstone in May. Even if Labour does relatively well in some of the other local elections, the result in London will be the big one.  If Labour fail to win there, Ed Miliband will be the one with some explaining to do.