The ousted UK leader reportedly aims to return to power after his replacement fails
Fresh from being forced to resign as UK prime minister by his own party, Boris Johnson is reportedly already contemplating another run for the top job on expectations that his replacement will struggle, opening the door for him to be restored to power.
“He thinks whoever replaces him might be a disaster, and we could be back here in a few years’ time having lost a general election looking for someone with the dynamism to propel the party back into power,” the Sunday Times newspaper cited a “Downing Street insider” as saying. “He thinks he is that person.”
Despite the series of scandals that led to his resignation, Johnson is “convinced of his popularity with the party grassroots and the wider public,” the Sunday Times said. “Multiple sources claim he believes he will one day return as prime minister, like his hero Sir Winston Churchill.”
Johnson is continuing to serve as prime minister until his Conservative Party chooses a replacement. Liz Truss, currently the British foreign secretary, and Rishi Sunak, formerly chancellor of the exchequer, are the two finalists, and the winner is expected to be announced on September 5.
With the Tories marred by scandal and plagued by infighting, polling indicates that only Sunak would be able to beat the opposition Labour Party in the next general election – and only by a slim margin, the Sunday Times said. The current government is “paralysed by indecision,” and key legislation has been stalled.
The newspaper added that many of the Conservative Party members who helped oust Johnson have received backlash from constituents, raising fears that they will suffer electoral losses like those seen after the Tories pushed Margaret Thatcher out of power in 1990. “I think we may have f**ked up,” one lawmaker said.
More than 7,600 Tories have signed a petition for Johnson to be included on the ballot with Sunak and Truss. Billionaire party supporter Peter Cruddas has threatened to withhold a £500,000 donation if Johnson isn’t given a chance at re-election.
Tim Montgomerie, a former Johnson adviser, said the embattled politician expects a quick return to No. 10 Downing Street. “Boris is telling aides that he’ll be PM again within a year,” Montgomerie said.
Before he goes, in one of his final acts as PM, Johnson is planning to make another visit to Poland to “show solidarity with Ukraine” amid Kiev’s conflict with Russia, the Sunday Times said.