David Cameron has denied he envies Boris Johnson's "rockstar status", just hours after the mayor was given a "celebrity-style" welcome in Birmingham as he arrived for the Tory party conference.
The prime minister, who is planning to celebrate his 46th birthday with a Balti this evening, told ITV News he thought it was "great that we have got someone with rock star status in the Tory Party".
"There are lots of people that are more popular than me in this world, because I have to be the one who takes the difficult decisions on behalf of the country to recover us from the dreadful state that Labour left us in.
"That's just life, but in politics what matters is you do your duty, you do the right thing for your country."
Just to prove his lack of concern of being overshadowed at his own conference, he told Sky News he was glad the blonde bombshell was in town for his 46th: “I’m delighted that Boris is here on my birthday – that might give me a bit of time for myself," he said.
And when asked what country he might send Boris to during an interview, the prime minister told the Today programme: "I'm not sure which country deserves him."
A recent poll conducted by the grassroots website ConservativeHome finding that Boris was the overwhelming favourite to succeed Cameron, with 37% of Tory members backing the mayor to take over should the Tories lose the 2015 election.
Prior to a triumphant rally on Monday where Boris even took on One Direction, the mayor of London was greeted by ranks of cameras and passers-by chanting "Boris! Boris!"
David Cameron on Boris: There are lots of people who are more popular than me
Crowds of media and commuters jostled to take snaps, and passers-by chanted "Boris, Boris, Boris" and "There's Only One Boris Johnson".
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning Cameron said: "I think Boris has got an enormous amount of talent, he does a great job as Mayor of London.
"I've always said to him, 'Once you've finished being Mayor, don't rule out trying to serve the country in other ways. You've got a lot to give'.
"If you believe like I do that public service is important and doing your duty is important, I hope Boris will continue in public service."
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more