Boris Johnson returned to Britain from vacation on Saturday to contemplate an audacious bid for a second time period as prime minister in a race that would pit him towards his former finance minister, whose resignation in July helped drive him out of workplace.
Potential candidates to change Prime Minister Liz Truss, who give up on Thursday after solely six weeks in workplace, had been embarking on a frantic weekend of lobbying to safe sufficient nominations to enter the management contest earlier than Monday’s deadline.
Johnson, who was on vacation within the Caribbean when Truss resigned, has not commented publicly a few bid for his outdated job. He has acquired the assist of dozens of Conservative lawmakers however wants to safe 100 nominations to be thought of.
James Duddridge, minister of state for worldwide commerce, mentioned on Friday that Johnson had informed him he was “up for it.” He mentioned on Saturday that Johnson had secured 100 nominations, though a Reuters tally put him simply above 40, and Rishi Sunak, a former finance minister whose determination to resign helped carry Johnson down, at greater than 110.
The Sunday Times reported Sunak and Johnson might meet late on Saturday, with out giving particulars on the deliberate discussions.
The subsequent prime minister — a publish that can have modified palms 3 times in 4 years — faces an enormous inbox after Truss’s financial plans hammered bond markets, raised authorities borrowing prices and added extra strains on households and companies already combating a cost-of-living disaster.
The Sunday Times reported Sunak, for now the bookmakers’ favorite, and Johnson might meet late on Saturday. It didn’t give particulars on any deliberate discussions.
Only former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has formally declared she’s going to run, though a Reuters tally confirmed that thus far, she had solely 22 nominations earlier than Monday’s 1 p.m. GMT deadline.
Johnson was booed by some passengers on the airplane to Britain, a Sky News journalist on the flight reported.
Wearing a darkish jacket and backpack, Johnson waved to photographers at London’s Gatwick Airport earlier than driving away.
It would be a surprising comeback for the previous journalist and mayor of London, who left Downing Street shrouded in scandal and saying fellow celebration lawmakers “modified the principles midway by way of” to forestall him from serving a full time period.
In a lift to Sunak, one other potential contender, commerce minister Kemi Badenoch, who ran in a management race earlier this 12 months, backed the previous finance minister, thereby ruling herself out from one other bid for the highest job.
The prospect of one other Johnson premiership is a polarizing subject for a lot of within the Conservative Party, which is deeply divided after seeing off 4 prime ministers in six years.
For some Conservative lawmakers, Johnson is a vote winner, in a position to attraction throughout the nation together with his movie star picture and model of energetic optimism. For others, he’s a toxic determine who would wrestle to unite the celebration and so may undermine efforts to construct a secure management to calm rattled monetary markets.
Former dwelling secretary Priti Patel mentioned her outdated boss had “the mandate to ship our elected manifesto and a confirmed monitor report getting the massive choices proper.”
Andrew Bridgen, one other Conservative lawmaker, mentioned he may resign from the parliamentary group if Johnson returned and informed Conservatives not to create a Johnson “character cult.”
Former Conservative celebration chief William Hague mentioned Johnson’s return would lead to a “loss of life spiral” for the Conservatives.
Johnson is at the moment below investigation by Parliament’s privileges committee to set up whether or not he lied to the House of Commons over lockdown-breaking events. Ministers discovered to have knowingly misled Parliament are anticipated to resign.
The contest to change into Britain’s subsequent prime minister has been accelerated to take solely per week. Under the principles, solely three candidates will be in a position to attain the primary poll of lawmakers on Monday afternoon, with the ultimate two put to a vote on Friday that’s restricted to about 170,000 signed-up members of the Conservative Party.