Why Boris Johnson would snub Horncastle seat

Sir Peter has denied Boris Johnson is set for Horncastle seat
Sir Peter has denied Boris Johnson is set for Horncastle seat

Sir Peter Tapsell has played down intense speculation Boris Johnson will succeed him as MP for Louth and Horncastle.

Sir Peter (84) has called a halt to his record-breaking career in the House of Commons after confirming he will not be standing at next year’s General Election.

That sparked reports Mr Johnson - tipped as a future party leader - could be in line for one of the safest Tory seats in the country.

But speaking exclusively to the News, Sir Peter said Mr Johnson would not want a constituency like Louth and Horncastle because it was “too far away from the TV stations.”

Sir Peter went on to reveal that he was initially responsible for linking Mr Johnson with Louth and Horncastle during a lighthearted joke with Prime Minister David Cameron more than a year ago.

Regarding Mr Johnson, Sir Peter said: “Quite seriously, I can’t imagine that Boris would want a constituency like this because it’s too far away from the TV stations.

“If you are a party leader - or very senior politician - you need to be near the TV stations.

“Almost every weekend, I’m asked to go on some programme or other but I refuse because I tell them I can’t give up my wife’s lovely cooking in Roughton Hall in order to trail down to London for a 10-minute interview with some irritating person who is trying to embarrass me.”

Sir Peter went on to reveal exactly what happened during a conversation with the Prime Minister - within ear-shot of the Queen.

He added: “The Prime Minister was taking the Queen round the Royal Gallery in the House of Commons, introducing MPs.

“We were lined up and I was one of the first to be introduced, because I’m Father of the House.

“He made this remark to me, very lightheartedly, along the lines of ‘I hope you are feeling well Sir Peter because we don’t want a by-election in Louth and Horncastle.’

“I said: ‘Don’t worry Prime Minster...I am keeping the seat warm for Boris.’

“This was because everyone at the time was already gossiping about Boris trying to take over.

“Everyone around laughed. A year later, someone produced this joke of mine and made out as though I’d issued a public statement which is a complete nonsense.

“Now, it has all started up again.”

Sir Peter insisted he would continue to serve the constituency until the election.”

He also revealed he would be retiring at his home at Roughton near Woodhall Spa and that he and his wife had “reserved plots” in the village churchyard.

Sir Peter has represented Horncastle since 1966. It is thought the Tory Head Office is keen to put forward a “prominent” candidate.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman wouldn’t be drawn on the speculation.

He said: “The Mayor is getting on with running London.

“He has two priorities between now and May 2015 – delivering for London and campaigning to help return David Cameron to Number 10.”