Can Boris come back? Will Conservative Party bring back Johnson to replace Liz Truss - what is he doing now?
As he left office, Boris Johnson hinted at a future return - even he wouldn’t have expected it so soon
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Truss’ tumultuous 45 days as Prime Minister have been unsteady to say the least. They started with her chancellor’s disastrous “mini budget” - which sent markets into a panicked frenzy and saw the pound hit its lowest ever rate against the US dollar - before we saw major U-turns on key policies, the firing of said chancellor, the stinging resignation of her home secretary, and reports of bullying amid important votes.
Now Truss has gone, who will step in as Conservative leader in her stead? Some names bandied about so far include that of Rishi Sunak, the man who lost out to Truss in the final two in this summer’s leadership battle.
Or could the job be handed back to Boris Johnson in the kind of dramatic return usually reserved for the scripts of professional wrestling’s most audacious storylines?
Here is everything you need to know.
Does Boris Johnson want to be Prime Minister again?
Johnson was forced to resign from office earlier this year, essentially when his whole government turned against him.
After months of debate and controversy around the Partygate saga - did Johnson turn a blind eye to parties and gatherings held in Downing Street while the rest of the country was living under strict anti-Covid measures? - and the mishandling of the Chris Pincher scandal, the letters of resignation began flying in.
It started with the heavy hitters. Sajid Javid and the aforementioned Sunak - Health Secretary and Chancellor at the time - were the first to go, sparking a rush of governmental departures that saw 62 of the UK’s 179 government ministers vacate their posts.
Johnson was forced to resign on 7 July after holding on to power for as long as he could. It was evident he was not giving up his post easily, and in his final speech to Parliament, referenced Cincinnatus, an old Roman politician and statesman who was in retirement and living life as a farmer.
However, when Rome was threatened with military invasion, he took up power of the republic and single-handedly defeated the enemy, before relinquishing his power and returning to his farm.
Many commentators at the time speculated this reference could have been a veiled hint at Johnson’s intent to return to front bench politics at some point in the future, perhaps even the office of Prime Minister.
Could Boris Johnson be PM again?
There are no rules that suggest Boris Johnson could not be Prime Minister again, so soon after his first stint.
It’s worth remembering that Johnson is a popular figure among Tory voters, and has almost “celebrity” status among floating and centre-right voters, perhaps more apathetic to politics than the kind of person who may be reading this article.
That means that while his career was dogged in scandal and controversy, he remains a genuine electoral proposition for the Conservative party, endearing himself to spectators with his bumbling, scruffy-haired act.
He was ousted from his seat by his party at a time when it seemed like those scandals may have finally caught up to the Prime Minister, with ministers assuming that any new leader would stand a better chance in the polls.
That’s since been proven to be far from the case, and with the Conservative trailing behind Labour by some margin, it’s clear that Liz Truss’ incompetence is not going unnoticed, whether you believe in her policies or not.
So while a BoJo return seems unlikely so soon after his dramatic removal from office - you almost couldn’t make it up - it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
However, if Truss is to be booted from Number 10 in the coming weeks, that timescale may just be too short for Johnson to return.
The former PM is said to be looking to secure his finances by making money on the international speaking circuit, and is still “bruised” by the coup, according to the Mail.
He is also the subject of a contentious Commons investigation into his actions during the Partygate scandal, and it’s worth remembering that opposition parties would most likely welcome the opportunity to once again face a tarnished figure.
Besides, were Johnson to return as Tory leader on such short notice, calls for a General Election - already loud - would certainly grow stronger, and he would have a tough time ignoring them.
A nationwide vote would likely be called, and given Labour’s current gains in the polls, a second term for Johnson as PM is far from guaranteed.