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Boris Johnson gathers his forces
10/21/2022 8:49 AM
In Great Britain, the domestic political crisis reached another low point. Now it seems that Boris Johnson of all people wants to fix it. According to media reports, he is considering a return as prime minister and is already mobilizing his supporters. He seems to think he can turn the Conservative Party on its head.
Media reports have said that former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering a return to Downing Street. As The Times and The Telegraph unanimously write, Johnson is already playing through ideas after his successor, Liz Truss, resigned in order to succeed her again. Conservative politician Truss announced her resignation on Thursday due to significant internal pressure, which has exacerbated the UK’s domestic political crisis.
For Johnson, who only announced his resignation at the beginning of July after various affairs, this may be a chance to come back. The 58-year-old had made it clear when he resigned that he would not retire voluntarily.
As The Times reports, the former prime minister has already asked allies, donors and the team he helped win the 2019 general election to lead his campaign for a return to Downing Street. As of Thursday evening, Johnson already had 20 supporters. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Secretary of Commerce, will help him run his campaign. Sky News quoted a Cabinet member as saying that Johnson had managed to get the 100 Conservative MPs needed to run.
Johnson, who is expected to return soon from his vacation in the Caribbean, is waiting to see if he gets enough nominations before officially announcing his candidacy, according to the report.
According to The Times, Johnson has told friends he believes he can turn the Conservative Party on its head and, given his victory in the 2019 general election, is the only candidate with a mandate to lead. Johnson seems to think he can win the party members’ vote.
Favorite grassroots party
In fact, he is very popular in the party base. A poll a few days ago showed Johnson a majority among party members. Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who is close to Johnson, called the former prime minister a winner. Johnson’s payout is largely traded at betting company Ladbrokes. On the other hand, Tory MPs are also warning about the former prime minister, who is highly regarded by voters. Many thought he was a liar.
Johnson’s return to the political scene could further divide the notoriously divided Conservative Party. As reported by The Times, at least three lawmakers are willing to leave the party to cease operating under his leadership.
However, the newspaper also quoted a source as saying that while Johnson prepares to run for party leadership, his instinct is that it is too early to come back. Some allies also urged him not to throw his hat in the ring. “Now is not the time for Boris,” one said. “By June of next year they will be desperate.”
decision in a week
Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Benny Mordaunt, whom Truss defeated in the previous competition for the top job, are also considered as candidates to succeed Truss. One possibility could also be that they are leading some sort of tripartite alliance with current Treasury Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who also ran for office in the summer but is now said to have ruled out a Downing Street bid. In this scenario, Sunak would become the new prime minister and Mordaunt would move to the State Department. Hunt will remain Treasury Secretary.
However, such a solution would be a red rag for the Conservative right-wing. This wing has recently gained more and more weight and finally pushed Truss to Downing Street. So it is not excluded that this site offers its own filter. The likely candidate is Suila Braverman, who was forced by Truss from her post on Wednesday as home secretary. The hardliner was shocked in the past few days when Truss threw her economic trajectory into the sea after criticism and also caused an uproar with right-wing populist statements about immigration policy.
A new prime minister is scheduled to be elected by Friday next week at the latest. To run, candidates need the support of at least 100 MPs. Nominations can be received until noon on Monday. If more than two candidates cross this obstacle, then a vote between them must be held in the parliamentary group. If there are two finalists, the party base can choose between them in an online vote during the week.
Opposition parties are calling for new elections. The next regular parliamentary elections are actually on the calendar for 2024, and the latest date is January 2025. But given the weeks of turmoil and the fact that again less than 0.3 percent of all eligible voters are expected to decide on the most important political position, the political pressure now is enormous. But the Conservatives have good reasons to avoid a new election at all costs: current opinion polls predict a clear victory for the opposition Labor Party.