World

Will Boris be back?

25 July 2022

5:05 PM

25 July 2022

5:05 PM

‘Hasta la vista, baby’ Boris Johnson told the Commons at his final PMQs. But could the fallen leader be seeking inspiration from another Schwarzenegger quote: ‘I’ll be back’? There’s been much excited talk in recent days about whether Johnson could ever make a comeback, with some supporters fearing that the Privileges Committee investigation is an attempt to force him to resign his Uxbridge seat and prevent this from ever happening.

And now a few of Johnson’s allies have announced they are not going to accept his defenestration lightly. Lord Cruddas, ennobled by the Prime Minister, and David Campbell-Bannerman, a former Conservative MEP, are trying to organise a grassroots revolt. They have started a petition demanding a say over Johnson’s future by introducing a second ballot to confirm the MPs’ decision to force his resignation. This would appear concurrently alongside the official leadership ballot between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. Some Tory 10,000 members are claimed to have signed the petition already, although there are question marks about whether all of these are official, signed-up activists.


If there was a ‘no’ vote then either Truss or Sunak would be PM; if there was a ‘yes’ one, in Campbell-Bannerman’s words, ‘Boris stays as PM but with new policies and team.’ Such a manoeuvre is unlikely to work though, given that neither candidate wants to step aside for Johnson. It’s telling too that, despite some enthusiastic reporting from the Telegraph, not a single sitting Tory MP is yet to support the initiative. With the party establishment implacably opposed, it’s therefore unlikely to succeed but a useful reminder perhaps of Johnson’s enduring popularity in swathes of his own party.

And for those highly-flying wonderkids not lucky fortunate enough to be drafted onto one of the leadership campaigns, there’s another reminder of their fallen leader every time they go to walk. For proudly displayed in the window of Four Matthew Parker Street – the home of Conservative Campaign Headquarters – is a huge image of Boris Johnson against a Union Jack background, glaring out onto the street. It’s the first thing that outsiders see and completely dominates the room. Talk about a metaphor, eh?

Boris may be gone now but seems like there’s no escaping his shadow.

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