Boris Johnson returns to UK for swift political comeback

  • Johnson was forced to step down this year
  • Prime Minister candidate needs 100 nominations from MPs
  • Sunak is bookmaker favourite, then Johnson
  • Truss exits after policy triggers market turmoil

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Boris Johnson returned to Britain from vacation on Saturday to consider an audacious bid for a second term as prime minister that could pit him against his former finance minister, The latter’s resignation in July helped him out of office.

Potential candidates for Prime Minister Liz Truss, who resigned on Thursday after six weeks in office, are starting a frantic weekend of lobbying to secure enough nominations to enter the leadership race by Monday’s deadline.

Johnson was on vacation in the Caribbean when Truss resigned, but he has not publicly commented on the bid for his old job. He has the backing of dozens of Conservative MPs but has 100 nominations to consider.

Sign up now for free and unlimited access to

Trade Secretary James Dudridge said Friday that Johnson told him he was “ready.” He said on Saturday that Johnson had received 100 nominations, although he had just over 40 nominees, according to a Reuters tally, and more than 110 for former finance minister Rishi Sunak, whose resignation decision helped to oust Johnson .

The new prime minister is set to change hands three times in four years after Truss’ economic plan roiled bond markets, raised government borrowing costs and put further pressure on households and businesses already struggling with costs. He’s faced with a huge inbox. or existential crisis.

Current bookmakers favourite Sunak and Johnson could meet later on Saturday, The Sunday Times reported. It did not detail any planned discussions.

Only former defense secretary Penny Mordaunt has officially announced she will run, although a Reuters tally showed she had just 22 nominations ahead of Monday’s 1300 GMT deadline.

According to Sky News, Johnson was booed by some passengers on the flight to the UK. Wearing a dark jacket and backpack, Johnson waved to photographers after landing at London’s Gatwick Airport before driving away.


It would be a stunning return for the former journalist and former London mayor, who plunged Downing Street into scandal, saying party MPs “changed the rules halfway through” to prevent him from completing his entire term.

Trade Minister Kemi Badnock, who entered a leadership race earlier this year, has backed another potential contender, Sunak, who backed the former finance minister, thereby ruling out another run for the top job.

The prospect of Johnson being prime minister again is a polarizing issue for many in the Conservative Party, which is deeply divided after sending four prime ministers away in six years.

For some Conservative MPs, Johnson is a vote-winner, able to attract national appeal with his celebrity profile and vibrant brand of optimism. For others, he is a toxic figure who has struggled to unite the party, and so could undermine efforts to build a stable leadership to calm volatile financial markets.

Former Home Minister Priti Patel said her former boss “is empowered to deliver our elected manifesto and has a proven track record of making the right big decisions”.

Another Conservative MP, Andrew Briggan, said he could resign from the parliamentary panel if he came back and told the Conservatives not to create Johnson’s “cult of personality”.

Former Conservative leader William Hague said Johnson’s return would lead to a “death spiral” for the party.

Johnson is currently being investigated by the Parliamentary Privileges Committee to determine whether he lied to the House of Commons about the party that broke the blockade. Ministers found to have deliberately misled Parliament are expected to resign.

The race has sped up to take just a week. Under the rules, only three candidates will be able to participate in the first round of ballots for lawmakers on Monday afternoon, with the final two candidates due to go to the polls on Friday, limited to about 170,000 signed Conservative Party members.

Sign up now for free and unlimited access to

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Additional reporting by Henry Nichols; Editing by Edmund Blair and Jason Neely

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source link