Impressed by his success in hosting the Olympic Games, nearly three-quarters of Britons now want London mayor Boris Johnson to become prime minister, according to a survey on Saturday.
The 48-year-old former member of parliament who once said he had as much chance of becoming prime minister as being decapitated by a frisbee or finding Elvis, has been widely acclaimed for his role in promoting the Games.
In the UK-wide survey conducted for Ladbrokes bookmakers, 71 percent of respondents said they would like him to become premier.
Ladbrokes is now offering odds of 2/1 that he is re-elected mayor in four years' time and of 3/1 that he becomes prime minister before 2030.
The blond, mop-haired mayor vigorously denies any interest in seeking the top job and has sought in vain to quell growing speculation that he might one day follow in the footsteps of fellow Conservative politician David Cameron.
"What do I have to do to make this silly-season story go away?" he wailed earlier this week. "How could anybody elect a prat (fool) who gets stuck in a zip wire?"
He was referring to footage of him on a 150 feet- (46-metre)-high wire at a publicity event last week when he was left dangling over a crowd of people for several minutes, clutching a Union Jack flag, as the pulley from which he was suspended got stuck.
Several political observers have noted that the self-deprecating Johnson is perhaps the only politician in Britain who could escape from such a mishap with his dignity intact.
To become prime minister, Johnson would first have to stand for election to parliament again, having left to become mayor in 2008. While few doubt his public appeal, many commentators say his tangled private life would be an obstacle to his ever becoming prime minister.
"Each blunder only seems to add to his charm," said Ladbrokes' Alex Donohue in a statement. "His stock is at an all time high following the Games.
"The odds now clearly reflect the fact that he could soon be moving on up in the world of politics."
Ladbrokes believes the gaffe-prone mayor could still commit a faux pas during Sunday's closing ceremony and is offering 33/1 that he knocks over the mayor of Rio de Janeiro with the Olympic flag at the ceremonial handover to the next host.
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