Boris Johnson wants to stand in contest to replace Liz Truss in No 10, friends say


Boris Johnson
 wants to run to replace Liz Truss in No 10, friends say, in what would be the most sensational twist yet in the Conservative leadership drama.

The former prime minister – who still faces an inquiry into whether he lied to parliament in the Partygate scandal – wants to “finish the job” he started, a key ally said.

Mr Johnson is believed to be on holiday in the Caribbean, the reason why he missed the meltdown over the Commons vote on lifting the ban on fracking which triggered Ms Truss’s downfall.

The Times was told he is taking soundings from friends, believing he can rescue the Conservative party from its rock-bottom poll ratings and that his return is in “the national interest”.

And Brendan Clarke-Smith, a government minister and Johnson cheerleader, told Sky News he believed Mr Johnson will throw his hat into the ring again.

The Tories need someone who can “bring people together” and who – unlike any other candidate – has “that mandate form the last general election”, he argued.

“The only person I think who ticks all those boxes is Boris Johnson,” Mr Clarke-Smith said, adding: “He is the only person who can dig us out of this mess.

“He wants to be able to finish that job – so, yes I think he would be interested and that is why I am urging him now to put his name forward.”

His fellow Conservative MP James Dudderidge tweeted under the hashtag #bringbackboris, saying: “I hope you enjoyed your holiday Boris. Time to come back. Few issues at the office that need addressing.”

The maverick Michael Fabricant and Paul Bristow are among other Tory MPs who have signalled their support for the return of Mr Johnson to Downing Street.

This chart shows how Labour has widened its polling advantage over the Tories (Press Association Images)
This chart shows how Labour has widened its polling advantage over the Tories (Press Association Images)

But Robert Syms was among Conservatives who dismissed the idea – while others suggested they would quit the party if Mr Johnson did come back.

“Boris is a fantasy. The number for nomination will be lifted to limit runners and there will be massive pressure on the 2nd candidate in MPs ballot to drop out !” he said.

The families of Covid victims also spoke out, calling the proposal “devastating for bereaved families”.

“This is the man who oversaw the deaths of 200,000 British citizens to Covid-19 on his watch,” said Lobby Akinnola, spokesperson for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign.

“This is the man who oversaw the deaths of 200,000 British citizens to Covid-19 on his watch. The man who partied whilst we had to say goodbye to our loved ones over a screen, and then spent six months lying to us about it.”

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