23 May, 2024
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Boris’s bold plan to return as PM, after Truss quits


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Boris Johnson might be about to execute the most extraordinary of political comebacks, with his supporters urging him to make a bid to return as British PM after Liz Truss’s resignation.

Mr Johnson is also reportedly privately urging Tory MPs to back him for a spectacular return to No.10 Downing street, just six weeks after he left for the final time.

He is telling MPs that only he can save the ailing Conservative party from oblivion at the next British election.

Mr Johnson’s manoeuvring follows Ms Truss’s extraordinary resignation late on Thursday (Australian time). She quit after just 44 days as prime minister, giving her the unappealing title as the shortest title-holder and sparking a leadership contest for the fifth Conservative prime minister in just over six years.

Mr Johnson was holidaying in the Caribbean when the sudden announcement came. At least one British newspaper was reporting on Friday (Australian time) that he was set to make a hasty return to London.

He already has the backing of at least one former Conservative MP, his father Stanley. Mr Johnson said his son was likely be a “unity candidate” for the party.

“I have exchanged messages with him – I am absolutely unaware of what his intentions are,” Mr Johnson senior said.

“[But] I think Boris as he comes back is extremely well placed.”

Despite the fatherly endorsement, the news that Mr Johnson – who was ousted from office after more than 50 ministerial resignations just three months ago – was considering joining the race immediately split Tory MP colleagues.

The Mirror reports that senior Conservative figures warned that his return would trigger a flurry of resignations or MPs deserting the party to sit as independents.

But his supporters argue that he alone of the potential candidates to be the new prime minister has won a general election and has a mandate from the British public.

In order to do so, however, he will first need to secure the nominations of 100 of the party’s 357 MPs – a target that some at Westminster believe may be beyond him.

If Mr Johnson does put up his hand, he is likely to find himself up against Rishi Sunak – the former chancellor who is blamed by Mr Johnson’s supporters for bringing him down – and the Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who called for an immediate general election after Ms Truss’s announcement, said the potential return of a man deemed “unfit for office” by his own MPs “adds insult to injury” for voters.

For critics, a comeback would be particularly problematic as Mr Johnson still faces an investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee over claims he lied to Parliament over lockdown parties in Downing Street, which could potentially see him expelled as an MP.

At least one Tory MP has also joined calls for a general election in Britain.

“The Conservative parliamentary party has proved over the last several hours that it’s ungovernable… I don’t see now that there’s any reasonable response we can make other than to call an immediate general election,” Christopher Chope told The Mirror.

“What we need now is a new mandate from the people, so that I hope anybody who stands for the leadership will say, ‘I will call an immediate general election as soon as I’m elected’.”

-with AAP

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