England: Could Boris Johnson return?

Posted Sep 3, 2022, 11:30 AM

“Hasta la vista, baby. During his last questions in Parliament, Boris Johnson left the stage, inspired by the movie “Terminator” and said “See you next time”. Soon after the British Prime Minister was ousted, an online petition was created by activists calling for his return to power.

Widely published by Boris Johnson’s former employer, the “Daily Telegraph”, a newspaper openly favorable to his policy, the petition has gathered 10,000 signatures. A method that raised some doubts about the authenticity of the signatures.

“The Times”, in an article, was enough to echo the “seller’s remorse” in the House of Commons, a phenomenon sometimes seen when owners regret selling their house. In the wake of Boris Johnson’s eviction, it was remarkable how quickly the Downing Street tenant was rehabilitated after months of controversy over ‘partygate’ and harsh criticism of his integrity.

A plausible scenario?

Is the return scenario plausible? This was the mission attributed to him by his former adviser, Dominic Cummings, who later became his fiercest political enemy. On his blog, he explained Boris Johnson’s support for Liz Truss, who would be so bad as Prime Minister that the former London mayor would be called upon to save his party in 2024.

“He thinks: ‘There’s a chance it’ll blow up in the plane, there’ll be another election and I can come back'”, Dominic Cummings wrote in July. A very rare case in across-the-Channel politics: you have to go back to the Victorian era to find such precedent for a former Prime Minister returning to power.

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Even if it’s Boris Johnson’s plan, some hurdles could be thrown at him, the main one being the parliamentary inquiry committee tasked with examining his statements within the “partygate” framework. He could be forced to resign in his constituency of Uxbridge if he is found to have misled parliament by claiming all hygiene rules were followed in Downing Street. Then early elections will be held there. But only an elected MP can become the Prime Minister.

Offer to “help”.

If he stays on as Vice-Chancellor, he will need to rally another hundred MPs behind him to stand a chance of being elected. The circumstances under which it was brought down make this scenario highly unlikely.

Anyway, Boris Johnson has yet to announce what he’s going to do with his new life. In a final interview with the “Daily Express”, he explained that he would remain loyal to his party and “be there to help” the next occupant of Downing Street.

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