Boris Johnson Is Back in Britain, and Back in the Running for Prime Minister
LONDON – Boris Johnson returned to Britain on Saturday, raising expectations that he would find a way to get his old job back after Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned last week. Rishi Sunak, his former prime minister in the Exchequer contest, also seems poised to enter the race to replace Ms. Truss.
Mr Johnson, who has been on holiday in the Dominican Republic, has won the backing of his former paternal secretary, Priti Patel, a significant endorsement from a prominent figure on the right wing of the Conservative Party.
Mr. Johnson’s ally announced on Saturday afternoon that he had the support of more than 100 legislators. It is significantly larger than the number of people who went public for him. But if he crosses that threshold, it greatly increases his chances of a return to 10 Downing Street.
Those running for party leadership are required to have nominations from at least 100 of the 357 Conservative Party lawmakers to advance to a second round of voting, among party members in the UK, one the group in which Mr. Johnson remains a favorite. Mr Sunak had 112 votes from party lawmakers, according to an unofficial BBC count.
“Boris Johnson has more than 100 supporters,” said James Duddridge, a Conservative close to him. posted on Twitterwithout naming any.
More about the Situation in the UK
Candidates have until 2 p.m. Monday to collect those nominations. On Monday, the party will hold two rounds of voting to choose one or two candidates. If the two remain, party members will vote at the end of the week.
Mr Johnson, who was forced out of office in July after a series of scandals sparked a revolt among Conservative lawmakers and ministers, ranks Mr Sunak on a list of announced lawmakers compiled by the BBC and other sources. Other news organizations aggregate. The BBC said Mr Johnson had 49 votes, while Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the House of Commons who announced his candidacy, had 21.
Other figures put Mr Johnson’s figure higher. Correspondents for BBC and The Times of London, citing people close to him, said he could be in the vote next week, if he so chooses. However, if the names of the supporters are not publicly available, the credibility of that claim cannot be determined.
Crossing the 100-vote threshold would automatically make Mr Johnson the favourite, as opinion polls suggest he would beat Mr Sunak in a runoff with party members. For Mr. Sunak, it will be his repeat experience this summer, when he won the most votes among lawmakers, losing only to Ms. Truss among members.
Much will depend on whether other figures from the right, like Suella Braverman or Kemi Badenoch, decide to run – and if not, who picks out their votes.
Mr Johnson remains beloved by his party’s roots, which has prompted some Conservative commentators and columnists to try to keep his candidacy out of the gate.
Andrew Neil, a famous broadcaster, wrote in The Daily Mail, “It’s time for the Tories to put the country first and vote for Rishi Sunak, the man the market trusts.” Charles Moore, on The Telegraph, wrote that he could see “Boris returned under different circumstances.” But he added: “I don’t see it working right now. True fans of Boris will have the guts to tell him to sit this out. “
David Frost, who negotiated a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union for Mr Johnson’s government, urged lawmakers to vote for Mr Sunak. “Boris Johnson will always be a hero to deliver Brexit,” he wrote on Twitter. “But we have to keep going. It is simply not right to risk repeating the chaos & mess of last year”.
Other commentators warned that Mr Johnson’s selection would add to concerns about Britain’s stability that have been stirred by Ms Truss’ tax cuts. Rating agency Moody’s downgraded Britain’s economic outlook to “negative”, citing political uncertainty and high inflation.
However, Mr Johnson’s supporters see his candidacy as an opportunity to rebuild the Conservative Party after the chaos and reversal of Ms. Truss’ six weeks in power. Some are betting on him as they hope that he can win their seat in a general election, given the huge lead the opposition Labor Party currently holds in the polls. probe.
“I support @BorisJohnson back as our Prime Minister, to assemble a united team to deliver our manifesto and lead Britain to a stronger and more prosperous future.” Ms. Patel tweeted on Saturday afternoon.