Can Boris Johnson really return to the British government after the resignation of Liz Truss?
- Sam Francis
- BBC News political reporter
Boris Johnson, the man his government pushed to step down as UK Prime Minister just 3 months ago, has become one of the candidates to return to the job.
Her successor, Liz Truss, just stumbled 45 days She announced her resignation on Thursday after she was forced to abandon most of her political platform after intimidating financial markets.
Johnson’s second term would be an extraordinary turnaround even for a politician who has made a miraculous comeback before.
Johnson’s final months as prime minister were marked by accusations that he broke ministerial laws by not telling the truth about parties in Downing Street while the restrictions were in place.
Johnson It is still under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Committeewhich could, in theory, lead to his suspension from Parliament or even his expulsion from his position as a Member of Parliament.
Johnson has not yet officially announced his candidacy.
Rishi Sunak, who lost exactly the leadership battle against Liz Truss a few weeks ago, this Friday crossed the minimum number of endorsements (100) among Conservative parliamentarians to be able to run, and he emerged as one of the candidates. .
The other contestant who announced her candidacy is the Minister Penny Mordauntwho came in third place in the last leadership elections.
Another name that sounds like a dispute is the name Kimi BadenochWhich was the surprise in the last race for the position despite not winning.
Will Walden, Johnson’s former press secretary, told Sky News the former prime minister was “clearly testing” his candidacy.
In his last appearance at the observation session as prime minister last July, Johnson signed with a “See you later, baby.”.
He could only have cast a stronger hint that he was not finished unless he used another signature line from the Terminator films: “I’ll be back.”
No need for elections
Johnson won the 2019 general election and, under British law, the ruling party can change leaders without having to call a new election.
Truss was chosen by Conservative Party members, who will have the final say on the future leader if there are still two candidates left after the parliamentary vote.
One of Johnson’s most loyal supporters, Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, has launched a campaign on social media to bring the former prime minister back to Downing Street, and dozens of Conservative MPs have publicly expressed their support.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, a leading figure in the Conservative Party, told the BBC he was “leaning” to support Johnson.
The weight of the July crisis
The party’s leadership rules state that candidates must have the support of at least 100 Conservative MPs by noon on Monday to stay in the race.
Johnson’s task is not small, considering that 148 of his colleagues came out against him in a vote of confidence in June, followed by the resignation of nearly 60 cabinet positions a month later.
The wave of resignations followed revelations that Johnson had brushed off allegations of sexual misconduct against Chris Pincher before his appointment as the party’s number two in Parliament.
On July 5, two senior ministers resigned within minutes of each other, including then-treasury secretary Rishi Sunak, who left the government on the grounds that Johnson was “neither competent nor serious”.
Johnson remained in office for two more days before announcing his resignation.
But before the mass resignations, pressure has grown on Johnson over his handling of parties held in Downing Street during the pandemic lockdowns.
Johnson was one of 83 people fined by police for a series of illegal parties, including one for his birthday.
Those who oppose
Questions about his integrity and personal behavior brought down Johnson. Will parliamentarians who found it intolerable 6 weeks ago find it acceptable now?
Representative Roger Gill said he would resign as Conservative Party leader in Parliament if Johnson was elected prime minister.
Suggested Jill, a frequent critic of Johnson Times Radio That other colleagues threaten to do something similar.
“Choosing Boris now would be, and I say this after careful consideration, a very disastrous decision,” said Conservative Representative Jesse Norman, who used to be a friend of Johnson’s.
Bounce 4 times Johnson again
- In 1987, the newspaper expelled Boris Johnson times To fake an appointment, but the following year he was appointed by Daily Telegraph As a correspondent in Brussels.
- In 2004, he was sacked as a minister in the opposition Conservative Party for lying about an affair, but a year later he is back in the spotlight.
- In 2016, he pulled out of his first attempt to be Conservative Party leader and prime minister after his close friend Michael Gove also ran, but abruptly returned as an adviser in the victorious Theresa May government.
- In 2018, she resigned from May’s government in protest of her Brexit deal, but returned as party leader the following year and won a large majority in the general election.
Opposition parties were quick to condemn Johnson’s return proposal.
Labor leader Keir Starmer said the former prime minister was “unfit” for the job.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, described Johnson’s return as a “ridiculous proposition”.
The Liberal Democrats have called Johnson a “British Berlusconi”, who are trying to prevent his delay as prime minister through a motion in Parliament.
Johnson has an advantage.
The former prime minister has been surprisingly low since leaving office. He has spoken in moderation in the House of Commons and has spent the past few weeks on a lecture tour of the United States before going on vacation.
But as his biographer, Andrew Jameson, points out, Johnson isn’t the type to live a “dark, flawless life.”
If only one candidate obtains the necessary votes from Parliament, the battle will end on Monday itself; If not, the new leader will be chosen by a vote of party members on Friday, October 28.
Polls in the final days of the Liz Truss administration consistently show Johnson as the most popular successor.
Patrick English, associate director of polling firm YouGov, said the Conservative Party was calling for “someone who can bring unity and reshape the party to run against Labor leader Keir Starmer”.
“If you ask the members who this person could be, it’s Boris Johnson,” English said.
“If Johnson succeeds in the final nomination, he has an advantage.”
Now you can receive notifications from BBC World. Download and activate the new version of our app so you don’t miss our best content.