Westminster is buzzing with rumours circulated by political correspondents extremely close to both the governing Conservative Party and the man himself, that Boris Johnson will run to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, just 15 weeks since he announced his resignation in July.
Liz Truss announced her resignation Thursday lunchtime, bringing to an end the shortest-ever term of a UK Prime Minister, a withdrawal precipitated by her inability to deliver on her policy programme amid brutal party infighting and what appeared to be a counter-coup against her administration by the pre-Brexit Remainer element inside the party.
The not-exactly shocking declaration fired the starting gun on yet another Conservative leadership process, which is due to be completed by Friday 28th, with a new Prime Minister in office before Monday 31st.
Liz Truss Resigns, at Just 45 Days the Shortest-Lived UK Prime Minister Everhttps://t.co/gKnRsJIldd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 20, 2022
While former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, the high tax and high spend finance minister who signed the cheques during the covid era but also oversaw the tax burden rise to some of the highest levels in modern British history, is an early favourite. Sunak came second in the previous leadership challenge that saw Truss elected, and the furious internal work to bring her down is broadly perceived from the outside of the party as being a continuation of the summer leadership process by other means, a corrective process by those who think that Sunak should have won.
Yet, another giant appears to be stepping into the ring already, Sunak’s old boss Boris Johnson. While Boris stepped down in July over a series of controversies including breaking the lockdown rules he himself created and enforced, there are several reasons to suppose this could be Johnson’s fight to lose.
Yes, Boris was embroiled in the lockdown party scandal, but the only other Member of Parliament to be fined over lockdown breaches was his finance minister, Rishi Sunak. And it isn’t as if not getting caught eating Pret sandwiches with colleagues during lockdown did Liz Truss any favours during her time in Downing Street, so quite possibly the country has already moved past that as an issue.
Farage: Conservative Party ‘Is Now Dead’, Globalist Hunt and Labour ‘Virtually Identical’https://t.co/a2VZ0qn2es
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 18, 2022
Further, Boris Johnson also has a powerful track record on winning elections, and this is possibly now more than ever something that will sharpen minds in the Conservative Party. After all, they are — according to the polls, at least — facing total electoral annihilation and that means a lot of Tory MPs losing their cushy Westminster jobs. Bringing in the man that won two elections as a Tory mayor in left-wing London, then won dozens of traditionally very left-wing seats across England to get the biggest Conservative majority in a generation in the 2019 general election, may seem very appealing.
Johnson has also kept an extremely low profile since he departed, and with everything that’s happened in recent weeks, that’s going to have been good for him. Sunak, in the meanwhile, has been hotly discussed as being part of the coup against the outgoing Truss government. Will that resonate well with the country? Whatever happens, the journalists embedded most deeply inside the Conservative Party seem to believe Boris will run.
If the leadership vote goes to the party members, which seems extraordinary given the process is to be complete in a week but according to backbench boss and leadership competition rule enforcer Sir Graham Brady is the plan, Boris could very well win by a considerable margin. A YouGov poll of Conservative members this week found Johnson winning their vote by a considerable margin, garnering 32 per cent of support compared to Rishi Sunak at 23 per cent.
Other names presently being mulled to stand like Penny Mordaunt and present de-facto Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt (more on that mess here) are left in the dust by comparison at nine and seven points, respectively.
There can be no denying it was always Boris’s intention to stage a comeback — as realistic or not as that may have seen on his last day in office — but whether this timing is what he envisioned or not is anyone’s guess. After all, his final words to the House of Commons from the dispatch box as leader? Hasta la Vista, baby.
Were Liz Truss to resign, Boris Johnson tops the list of potential successors Tory members would most like to see replace her
— YouGov (@YouGov) October 18, 2022