There has been some puzzlement in Whitehall after Boris Johnson vowed to have it out with Eric Pickles over the latter’s plans – as yet undisclosed and undefined - to cut the £7bn London budget.
In a pre-emptive strike, a source close to Boris was quoted in the Mail on Sunday eight days ago promising to “explode” if his budget is cut by an “outrageous” 25 per cent. DCLG sources are bemused that there has been no conversation about funding between Pickles and Johnson in recent weeks and there is no meeting in the diary. “The whole exercise seems to have been artificially created to bolster Boris’s credentials,” says one.
What adds some spice to the tale is that Boris apparently told his team a few weeks ago that he needed some new “campaigns” – interpreted by some as profile-raising exercises. Perhaps his attempt to get the government to engage in some fresh union-bashing (so far not supported by Downing Street) should be seen in this light.
UPDATE July 14: Boris is at it again.