Barbados Times

Barbados, Caribbean & World News
Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023

Could Boris Johnson really make a comeback?

Could Boris Johnson really make a comeback?

Boris Johnson, the man ousted as UK prime minister by his own government just three months ago, has emerged as an early front-runner to be the next prime minister.

His replacement Liz Truss crashed and burned after 45 days in the job, announcing her resignation after being forced to ditch most of her policy programme after it spooked the financial markets.

A second Johnson premiership would be an extraordinary turnaround even for a politician who has made miraculous comebacks before.

The last time anyone returned to the office of prime minister after losing the leadership of their party was 140 years ago when William Gladstone returned to lead the Liberals, although some party leaders have had two stints as prime minister, including Sir Winston Churchill and Harold Wilson.

The final months of Mr Johnson's time in office were dogged by accusations he had broken ministerial rules by not telling the truth about Covid lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.

He remains under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Committee, which could, in theory, lead to him being suspended from Parliament, or even being kicked out as an MP.
Mr Johnson has

yet to officially announce he will stand. The only contender to break cover so far is cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt who came third in the last leadership election.

Will Walden, a former press secretary to Mr Johnson, told Sky News Mr Johnson is "clearly taking soundings" on a leadership bid.

In his final appearance at Prime Minister's Questions in July this year, Mr Johnson signed off with "hasta la vista, baby".

He could only have dropped a heavier hint that he was not finished yet if he had used another catchphrase from the Terminator films: "I'll be back."

Mr Johnson won the 2019 general election - and under the British constitution the party in power can change leader without another election.

Ms Truss was elected by Conservative Party members, who may get the final say in this latest contest, if two contenders remain after MPs have voted.

One of his most loyal supporters, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has launched a social media campaign to get him back in Downing Street, and dozens of Conservative MPs have publicly backed him.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, seen as an influential force in the Conservative party, told the BBC he was "leaning towards" supporting Mr Johnson.

Party rules for the leadership contest mean hopefuls need the backing of at least 100 Tory MPs by Monday afternoon to stay in the race.

On the face of it, this is no small task for a man who had 148 of his colleagues vote against him in a confidence vote in June - followed by nearly 60 ministerial resignations one month later.

The deluge of resignations followed revelations that Mr Johnson had ignored accusations of sexual misconduct against Chris Pincher before appointing him deputy chief whip.

On 5 July, two senior cabinet secretaries resigned within minutes of each other - including then chancellor Rishi Sunak, who left claiming Mr Johnson was not competent or serious.

Mr Johnson held on for two more days before announcing he agreed to stand down.

But before the resignations pressure had been building on Mr Johnson for criticism over his handling of parties that took place in Downing Street during Covid lockdowns.

Mr Johnson was one of 83 people fined by police for a string of illegal parties - including a birthday party for Mr Johnson.

Questions of integrity and personal conduct brought down Mr Johnson. Could MPs who found him unsupportable six weeks ago find him acceptable now?


Tory MP Sir Roger Gale has said he will resign the party whip if Mr Johnson is voted back in as prime minister.

Sir Roger, a frequent critic of Mr Johnson, suggested to Times Radio other colleagues were threatening to do the same.

Foreign Office Minister Jesse Norman, a former friend of Mr Johnson, said "choosing Boris now would be - and I say this advisedly - an absolutely catastrophic decision".


Four times Johnson has bounced back


*  In 1987, Boris Johnson was fired by The Times for falsifying a quote - but was hired the following year by The Daily Telegraph, as the paper's Brussels correspondent

*  In 2004, he was fired as the Conservatives' shadow arts minister for lying about an affair - but was back on the front bench a year later

*  In 2016, he pulled out of his first bid to be Conservative leader and prime minister after his close friend Michael Gove launched a rival bid - but he made a surprise comeback as foreign secretary under eventual winner Theresa May

*  In 2018, he quit Mrs May's cabinet in protest at her Brexit deal, only to return as leader of the party the following year, going on to win a huge majority at a general election

Opposition parties have also been quick to condemn suggestions Mr Johnson might make a comeback.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the former prime minister was "unfit for office". Scotland's Frist Minister Nicola Sturgeon called a Mr Johnson return a "ludicrous suggestion".

He was described as "Britain's Berlusconi" by the Liberal Democrats who are attempting to block Mr Johnson becoming prime minister through a motion in parliament.

Mr Johnson has kept a surprisingly low profile since leaving office. He has spoken sparingly in the House of Commons and spent the past few weeks doing a speaking tour of the US before heading on holiday.

But as Mr Johnson's biographer Andrew Gimson points out he is not the sort of person to "live a life of blameless obscurity".


Johnson 'has the edge'


If only a single candidate emerges the contest will be over on Monday - if not the new leader will be chosen by a vote from party membership on Friday 28 October.

Polls taken in the final days of Liz Truss' premiership have consistently shown Mr Johnson as the most popular successor.

Patrick English, Associate Director of polling company YouGov, said the Conservative party are calling out for "someone who can provide unity and pull the party back together and compete again (Labour leader) Keir Starmer.

"If you ask the members who that could be - it is Boris Johnson," Mr English said.

"If Mr Johnson goes to the final two, he's got the edge."


Johnson bids farewell at PMQs saying: "Hasta La Vista baby"


Newsletter

Related Articles

Barbados Times
Close
0:00
0:00
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×