Boris Johnson reported to be eyeing return to Number 10

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/GoBfcgOJR.ikiWXd0cRoBg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOTtjZj13ZWJw/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/WANOPAD6HKY0c6lBfINKfw–~B/aD00MTM7dz02MjA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/https://media.zenfs.com/en/herald_scotland_359/f8c409b5358a27c7efe7d68bb85f724e&quot; alt="Boris Johnson reported to be eyeing return to Downing St <i>(Image: PA)
Boris Johnson reported to be eyeing return to Downing St (Image: PA)

BORIS Johnson is reported to be considering a run at the Tory party leadership after Liz Truss resigned as Prime Minister.

The Times newspaper said the former PM was “taking soundings” as he considered it was a matter of national interest.

It follows former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and other Tory MPs saying Mr Johnson is the natural choice, as he won a mandate at the 2019 general election.

However the MPs who threw him out of office in July over a series of scandals and byelection defeats are unlikely to allow him to make a return, especially as there is an ongoing inquiry into whether he lied to parliament.

After the report, Ladbrokes slashed the odds on a Johnson win from 20/1 to 3/1.

Spokesman Alex Apati said: “At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him move into favourite spot before close of play today.”

Mr Johnson reportedly backed Ms Truss as his successor precisely because she was so poor and he expected to have an early chance of returning.

Mr Johnson’s political hero, Winston Churchill, made several comebacks.

In his farewell speech in Downing Street in July, Mr Johnson likened himself to the statesman Cincinnatus who came out of a bucolic retirement to return to Rome – as a dictator.

The man in charge of the contest said the next Prime Minister should be in Downing Street by next Friday, and Tory party members will decide who it is.

Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, said that despite the shortened timetable, he expected party members to have a say on Ms Truss’s replacement.

It suggests that if, as happened after the exit of Mr Johnson, Tory MPs narrow the field to two candidates, there will be an online ballot of the membership.

However the rules have yet to be finalised, and many Tory MPs will be appalled at the prospect of the membership having the final say, as they chose Ms Truss in the first place.

Speaking outside parliament shortly after Ms Truss announced she was standing down after 44 days days as Prime Minister, Sir Graham said: “I have spoken to the party chairman, Jake Berry, and he has confirmed that it will be possible to conduct a ballot and conclude a leadership election by Friday the 28th of October.

“So we should have a new leader in place before the fiscal statement which will take place on the 31st.”

However he acknowledged one person could win by acclaim if others withdrew, as happened in 2016 when Theresa May replaced David Cameron.

He said: “The party rules say there will be two candidates unless there is only one candidate.”

Asked what happens if one candidate dropped out, Sir Graham said: “If there is only one candidate, there is only one candidate.”

Asked if the whole episode was a dog’s dinner, he said: “It’s certainly not a circumstance I would wish to see.”

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who lost to Ms Truss in the last contest over the summer, is the bookies’ favourite to win this time.

Ladbrokes quoted odds of 4/6 on him taking over in Number 10, with Penny Mordaunt next on 9/4 and defence secretary Ben Wallace on 8/1.

However Mr Sunak is facing a challenge from the right of the Tory party if he stands, with two other candidates who stood in the summer also expected to go forward this time.

Suella Braverman, who quit as Home Secretary on Wednesday, hastening Ms Truss’s departure, is expected to run again, as is International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who backed Mr Sunak against Ms Truss, has ruled himself out, suggesting he wants to remain at the Treasury.

Former candidate Tom Tugendhat and Michael Give are also not expected to stand.

Opposition parties have demanded a general election, but as long as the Tories are able to command a majority in the House of Commons they are not obliged to call one.

Published by anthonyhayble

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