Is Boris Johnson Planning a Political Comeback?

AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali

It’s barely been two months since Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister of the UK, after a scandal involving a party that Johnson threw at 10 Downing Street while the rest of the country was locked down led to mass resignations from his cabinet, forcing him to step down.


The country’s Conservative Party hasn’t even chosen who will replace him as the party leader and Prime Minister yet, but there’s already talk of Johnson launching some sort of political comeback. On the Spectator‘s Coffee House Shots podcast yesterday, hosts Katy Balls, James Forsyth, and Isabel Hardman talked about the possibility of Johnson making another play at high office.

“Boris Johnson is on his grand farewell tour. But is it a brief farewell as opposed to a permanent exit when it comes to his time as Prime Minister?” Balls asked, pointing out that Johnson “has refused to completely rule out a political comeback.”

“The public are much more interested in this issue than the fate of any individual politician,” Forsyth replied. “But I think Boris Johnson is also a canny enough person to know that by not ruling it out, you keep his interest going: what is he going to do next?”

Forsyth also noted that a significant faction in parliament may be yearning for a Johnson return, stating that “polling suggests that there are a large number of conservative members who kind of wish he was still there.”


He also said that Johnson’s successor, whether it be Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, will have a harder road ahead because of Johnson’s status as a “celebrity politician.”

“Boris Johnson knows very well how to grab hold of a news agenda when he wants to,” Forsyth added. “And also the fact that he is going to hit the speaking circuit means that there’ll be lots of opportunity for something from Boris Johnson to be regarded as newsworthy.”

Related: Boris Johnson Goes Out as Prime Minister With a Bang

After a brief discussion that Johnson most likely prefers Truss succeed him as Prime Minister rather than Sunak, Hardman made the point that Johnson may want to mount a comeback because he built his entire career on eventually ascending to that high office.

“I think the fact that he’s not ruled out a return is also just him sort of going back to what his entire life up to the point at which he became prime minister was, which was, ‘Does Boris wants to be Prime Minister?'” she said.

Citing Johnson’s time as a columnist, editor, and television personality, Hardman added, “You know the number of pieces, the number of column inches, the number of radio debates that have taken place over the past three decades about that question. It’s probably very hard for him to potentially contemplate a pattern of living that doesn’t involve that question.”


Hardman also imagined that reaching his career goal might not have been easy for Johnson.

“And indeed, it was probably quite hard for him to be Prime Minister, realizing he’d actually made it having had everyone asking that question for so long,” she said.

Of course, this conversation is all speculative, but it’s clear that these three writers can see Johnson making another play for 10 Downing Street, and I wouldn’t put it past him to try it either. We’ll see what happens next for Boris Johnson.


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