Can Boris Johnson really return as Britain’s leader?


London
CNN

For those watching from outside the UK, it might seem strange that Boris Johnson is being offered a chance to return as Prime Minister, just months after he was forced to resign in disgrace following a series of scandals.

However, that is the main talking point in Westminster, after Liz Truss announced she would be stepping down after just 45 days in office.

Johnson’s allies believe he is the only person who can join the ruling Conservative party and avoid an electoral wipeout that could put the party in opposition for a generation.

It’s fair to say that Truss has left a mess for his successors to sort out. His misguided economic plan made things worse for people facing the country’s worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, and his humiliating U-turns have left a party hopelessly divided and fading in the polls.

So why is Boris Johnson the answer?

To begin with, there is also the question of his eligibility. Johnson’s resignation came after a series of scandals made his position untenable. His downfall, most believe, began when he used his power as prime minister to protect a political ally who was found to have violated lobbying rules.

Then reports began to emerge that Covid-19 lockdown rules had been broken inside Downing Street, including by Johnson himself.

After initially denying this in parliament, the videos, images and various accounts dominated the British media for months. Johnson was eventually fined by the police for breaking the rules, becoming the first prime minister to plead guilty to breaking the law while in office.

And Johnson’s fate was sealed when, on June 30, Johnson’s deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher, resigned from his post after it was revealed that he had groped two men at a private event. Pincher has not denied the allegations and admitted in his resignation letter that he drank too much.

Johnson tried to hold on, but he refused to let go of a wave of Cabinet resignations, which demoted him to his first post.

All this seems to disqualify him for future office. But there is nothing in British law to prevent a shameless politician from returning.

Beyond that, His supporters say that Johnson is the only candidate with a mandate to govern. Their argument is that Johnson led the party to a landslide victory in 2019, winning an 80-seat majority in parliament. That majority is his majority, they say.

Nadine Dorries, who served as Johnson’s cabinet minister, has weighed in on this argument: “A person was elected by the British public with a manifesto and a mandate until ’25,” she tweeted. “If Liz Truss is no longer Prime Minister, there can be no coronation of candidates who have failed before. MPs must call for Boris Johnson to be reinstated.” He said crowning anyone else would be anti-democratic, adding that general elections should be held.

Johnson’s critics believe this argument is a fantasy. They point out that he left office with an extremely low approval rating and his credibility in tatters.

Johnson skeptics are concerned that he is now the same man he was when he resigned in July in the public eye. Bringing him back, they fear, would further anger the British public. They note that Johnson was booed at public events at the end of his tenure.

He is still subject to a parliamentary inquiry into whether he misled parliament. If found guilty, Johnson could be suspended from parliament, which would be shocking for a sitting prime minister.

It’s hard to say how likely Johnson is to return at this point. CNN knows it’s taking the issue very seriously. However, it is not clear that he has the necessary 100 supporters among the members of parliament to go to the members’ vote. If he makes the final vote, it must be said that Johnson would feel confident of a victory.

It has been a truly extraordinary few months in British politics and Johnson has played no small part in the psychodrama. His return to office could bring relative calm after the Truss chaos. Or it could make everything worse.

The only thing to be sure of is that if the Conservatives re-install Johnson in Downing Street, they will be taking a huge gamble that could have far-reaching consequences for the public as to who will lead it a second time. in a few weeks