Boris Johnson is hunting a seat in Parliament and reports have suggested the London Mayor could be in line for a rapid rise to the Cabinet.
The constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip is thought to be a leading contender after incumbent Tory MP Sir John Randall announced earlier this year he would retire and not defend his more than 11,000 vote majority.
The Daily Telegraph suggested he could be made Business Secretary, with particular responsibility for infrastructure, when his term as mayor expires in 2016 should the Tories win the General Election.
The mayor has been touted for such a position in the past and Mr Johnson’s declaration he would in “all probability” seek a seat encouraged sources to tell the newspaper the key role could be offered to him as soon as he left office at City Hall.
Mr Johnson’s announcement, which came as he answered questions following a speech on Europe at Bloomberg’s London headquarters, also raised questions over whether he was positioning to replace David Cameron as Tory leader.
Bookmakers Ladbrokes responded by slashing the odds of Mr Johnson becoming the next Conservative leader from 5/1 to 9/4. Labour said it was a clear sign the Tories were turning in on themselves with Mr Cameron powerless to intervene.
The Prime Minister backed the announcement, tweeting: “Great news that Boris plans to stand at next year’s general election – I’ve always said I want my star players on the pitch.”
A source in the Uxbridge Conservative association told The Times Mr Johnson would have to move quickly if he wanted to secure the seat. A candidate is due to be chosen on September 12.