WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Will Johnson's PR baggage matter?

The difference between raising a smile or a laugh could be crucially important to Boris Johnson's campaign to stand for London mayor, announced earlier this week.

Media speculation showed that while Boris enjoys a high profile due to his regular TV appearances, opinion is divided over whether he could be taken seriously as the leader of one of the world’s great cities.

Drawing on his numerous gaffes, complicated private life and shambling manner, commentators were not sure that he would have the gravitas to handle the severe terrorist threat facing London and lead the city to the 2012 ­Olympics: ‘The perception of Boris Johnson is that of a flamboyant and gaudy politician who cannot often be taken seriously’ (timesonline.co.uk, 7 July).

While Boris clearly comes with PR baggage, the issue is whether it will actually matter in the vote for London mayor. According to newspaper opinion forums, the ‘scarecrow-haired Liverpool-upsetter’ (news.bbc.co.uk, 16 July) is viewed ­affectionately by Londoners and is felt to be one of the few candidates with the profile and personality to topple Ken Livingstone. ‘He would either be a very good mayor, or a catastrophic one,’ concluded the Sunday Times (15 July).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

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