Boris Johnson flys back to UK: why was he in Dominican Republic - and Prime Minister odds?

Former Prime Minister is making a bid to return to Number 10

Boris Johnson was flying to the UK from his Caribbean holiday to attempt an extraordinary comeback as prime minister after telling an ally he is “up for it”.

Trade minister Sir James Duddridge said the man who stood down six weeks ago after being ousted by his own cabinet following a series of scandals has told him “we are going to do this”. The Tory MP said Johnson will land back in Britain on Saturday and will challenge to replace Liz Truss as Conservative leader.

He was pictured on an overnight flight from the Dominican Republic and is expected to land back in the UK on Saturday (22 October) morning. It comes as his former Chancellor Rishi Sunak passed the threshold of 100MPs needed to make it into the leadership contest.

Here is all you need to know:

Where was Boris Johnson and is he returning to the UK?

The former Prime Minister has been on holiday with his wife Carrie Johnson in the Dominican Republic in the Carribean. He was out of the country despite Parliament still being in session.

Sky News photographed the ex-PM and wife on an overnight British Airways flight back from the Dominican Republic with their children and said the MP received “one or two boos” as he boarded. It comes amid expectations that he will make a bid to return to Downing Street.

Truss stood down as Prime Minister on Thursday (20 October) after just 44 days in office following a turmultous reign. The Tory leader’s mini-budget sparked uneasy in the market and she was forced to fire her Chancellor after just five weeks, before then losing her home secretary Suella Braverman on Wednesday (19 October).

Is Boris Johnson attempting to become Prime Minister again?

Boris Johnson (centre) is plotting an extraordinary comeback as prime minister but faces competition from Penny Mordaunt (left) and Rishi Sunak (right)Boris Johnson (centre) is plotting an extraordinary comeback as prime minister but faces competition from Penny Mordaunt (left) and Rishi Sunak (right)
Boris Johnson (centre) is plotting an extraordinary comeback as prime minister but faces competition from Penny Mordaunt (left) and Rishi Sunak (right)

Trade minister Sir James Duddridge has said that Johnson told him that he was “up for it” and added “we are going to do this”. It comes after the ex-Prime Minister was ousted by his party in July following a series of scandals.

Sir James, who served as one of Johnson’s parliamentary private secretaries at No 10, told the PA news agency: “I’ve been in contact with the boss via WhatsApp. He’s going to fly back. He said, ‘I’m flying back, Dudders. We are going to do this. I’m up for it’.”

The MP for Rochford and Southend East was confident that Johnson will get the 100 nominations from Tory colleagues to make it to the next stage of the contest “quite quickly”.

Sir James said Johnson will argue he is “the only person that’s got a mandate” from the 2019 general election and that he can “bring the party together”. He added that the former PM has “learned and reflected” during less than two months out of office, and knows he needs a No 10 operation that is “slicker” and has “command of the details”, according to the ally.

Sir James said Johnson knows he needs a “government of all talents” and would “welcome back with open arms” even those who “said despicable things about him”. But Lord Hague, a Tory peer, said Johnson returning is “possibly the worst idea I’ve heard of” during his 46-year party membership.

Johnson has already picked up support from Cabinet ministers, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Simon Clarke. Teesside mayor Ben Houchen, who backed Sunak in the summer, also threw his weight behind the former Prime Minister.

A return for Johnson would be beset with challenges, not least the inquiry into whether he lied to the Commons over the partygate scandal, for which he was fined by police. If found guilty by the Commons Privileges Committee, he could face recall proceedings that would leave him battling for his seat in the Commons if he receives a suspension of 10 days or more.

His popularity with the public has crashed, even if he still rides high with the Tory membership. Some MPs have even suggested they could resign the party whip if he wins.

What are the odds on Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister?

Oddschecker has the odds on the next Prime Minister being as follows:

  • Rishi Sunak - 4/6
  • Boris Johnson - 15/8
  • Penny Mordaunt - 16/1
  • David Frost - 100/1

However in the popular bets section, bids on Johnson is listed higher than bids on Sunak.