Could Boris Johnson return to Downing Street? (Photo:.)
Shortly after Liz Truss announced her resignation Thursday, Theresa May launched a public appeal for an “orderly” transition. “It is our duty to provide reasonable and competent governance,” the former prime minister told her party soberly.
Thousands of miles away on vacation in the Caribbean, Boris Johnson decided he had other ideas.
After the utter chaos of Truss’s premiership that saw the party’s audience drop in the polls, many Conservative MPs would have hoped for some calm.
But the prospect of Johnson returning to Downing Street – with his £ 840 a roll gold wallpaper – has shattered any notion of unity.
Some lawmakers are reportedly considering resigning from the party’s whip if he returns. Others are thrilled.
Brendan Clarke-Smith, a cabinet minister, told the BBC that Johnson deserved a resurrection because he had been unfairly “targeted”. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the secretary of affairs, announced his support by tweeting the hashtag “#BorisorBust”.
Tim Loughton, the MP from East Worthing & Shoreham, responded in public. “Jacob, how the hell can this slogan be of remote help to the party, given the strong possibility that the next PM will not be Boris?” He said. “You should really think about it if you have any interest in party unity.”
Foreign Minister Jesse Norman warned in no uncertain terms: “Choosing Boris now would be – and I say this consciously – an absolutely catastrophic decision”.
A cabinet minister told HuffPost UK: “It’s about surviving the next election. The main question is “who will limit the slaughter?” If Boris is better than Rishi, then he will win. “
And Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “I fear the party reaches the comfort blanket that Boris Johnson perceives, but I don’t see how he can unite the party when 63 members of his government have resigned only a few. weeks ago”.
The country will find out who will be the new Prime Minister by Friday at the latest. To get to the ballot, candidates must secure the support of 100 parliamentarians. This means that a maximum of three can work. It currently appears that the most likely trio are Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Johnson.
If two candidates remain on Monday evening, the Conservative Party members will choose the winner. Polls show Johnson is the overwhelming favorite on the grassroots.
If it gets to the ballot, it’s hard to see how it loses a member vote.
Just 107 days ago, Johnson stepped down as prime minister, dragged out of office amidst a scandal.
He had been fined by the police for breaking his own Covid laws and accused of lying to parliament about it. The final straw was the revelation that he also named Chris Pincher as the whip deputy chief despite being aware of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Resigning ministers and backbenchers hit Johnson with criticism as they demanded that he leave.
This is what some said at the time.
Jeremy Hunt, who is now drafting a tax plan as Chancellor due to be unveiled on October 31, harshly struck Johnson in June for “not giving the British people the leadership they deserve.”
“We are not offering the integrity, expertise and vision needed to unlock our country’s enormous potential,” he said of the party.
Nadhim Zahawi, now cabinet minister, told Johnson in July to “go now” – shortly after he was appointed chancellor.
Kemi Badenoch, now secretary of international trade, has resigned from his ministerial post, warning that under Johnson “the government cannot function”.
Brandon Lewis, now secretary of justice, said of Johnson when he resigned as secretary of Northern Ireland: “A decent and responsible government is based on honesty, integrity and mutual respect – it is a cause for deep regret. personnel that I have to leave the government because I no longer believe that those values are respected ”.
Alex Chalk, resigning as Attorney General, wrote that government posts mean accepting “the duty of difficult or even unpopular political decisions where it serves the broader national interest.” But, he added, “it cannot extend to the defense of the indefensible.”
Will Quince resigned as Minister of Education, after being invited to visit the television studios to defend the prime minister. He said he “had no choice” but to resign after it was discovered that he had been given “inaccurate” information.
Victoria Atkins stepped down as justice minister, telling Johnson “I can no longer spin around our fractured values” and “we can and must be better than that.”
Jo Churchill stepped down as minister of Defra, stating that “recent events have shown that integrity, competence and judgment are all essential to the role of prime minister, while a playful and selfish approach is bound to have. its limits “.
Rachel Maclean, the Minister of Safeguarding, said her job was to improve the low prosecution rate for sex offenders, which “would not be possible” if Johnson remained in office.
Helen Whately, then Treasury Secretary of the Treasury, said: “I have argued that you should continue to be prime minister many times over the past few months, but there are only so many times you can apologize and move on. That point has been reached. “
George Freeman, then minister of science, said: “Enough. This cannot go on. The chaos in n. 10, the collapse of the collective responsibility of the cabinet, the abandonment of the ministerial code, the defense of impropriety and the challenge to parliament are all insults to the conservatism in which I believe and support ”.
Guy Opperman, stepping down as pension minister, told Johnson: “Clearly that government just can’t work with you in charge.”
Sajid Javid, who resigned as health secretary along with Sunak’s departure as chancellor triggered Johnson’s downfall, said the British people “expect integrity from their government.”
Voters, Javid said, believed Johnson was neither competent nor “acting in the national interest.”
Despite everything, Johnson could be prime minister again. Possibly already on Monday. A desperate MP told HuffPost UK: “It’s no longer the Conservative Party. It’s Boris Johnson’s party. It is a cult ».
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.