Boris Johnson’s flight is watched by thousands as he watches the British Prime Minister’s return

Boris Johnson has returned to Britain as the Conservative Party prepares to elect Britain’s next leader following the dramatic implosion of Liz Truss as Prime Minister.

The former Prime Minister returned from a holiday in the Caribbean on Saturday with 6,800 people following his British Airways flight across the Atlantic at 4.10am ET, according to tracking site flighttrack24.

Johnson is widely expected to run again for the leadership of the Tory party, which could potentially see him back at 10 Downing Street less than two months after he was forced to leave.

But his divisive candidacy risks splitting his party, a former Conservative minister says news week that “nothing has changed” since July, when Johnson was forced to resign by his own ministers, who were “fed up with his lies and hypocrisy”.

Penny Mordaunt, a former defense secretary, has announced her intention to run, while Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor whom Truss beat to become prime minister in September, has crossed the 100 Tory MP threshold to run, according to his allies .

To enter the race, potential candidates must show they have the support of 100 Conservative MPs out of a total of 357.

MPs will vote on any candidates who reach that threshold until just two remain, with party members making the final decision next week.

The high threshold was deliberately chosen to speed up the election after the party spent two months picking Truss over the summer.

Currently, 120 MPs have declared they will support Sunak, making him the first to reach the 100 MPs threshold, according to data from the respected British politics blog Guido Fawkes.

Johnson is second with 71 MPs, followed by Mordaunt on 25.

Boris Johnson pictured outside 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson prepares to deliver his resignation speech outside 10 Downing Street in central London on September 6, 2022. In an extraordinary about-face, Mr Johnson could be seeking a second term after his successor’s term imploded.
ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/GETTY

During the last leadership election, Sunak Truss described plans for massive unfunded tax cuts that eventually weighed on the pound and forced her chancellor to resign as “fantasy island” economics.

Johnson faces a Privileges Committee inquiry into whether he lied to Parliament during the so-called Partygate scandal, in which he was fined after attending his birthday party during lockdown in violation of coronavirus laws.

If the committee concludes Johnson deliberately misled the legislature, he could be suspended and potentially forced to fight a by-election, raising the prospect of fresh unrest in the Conservative leadership.

Speak with news week Edwina Currie, a former junior Tory minister and current leader of the High Peak Conservatives, said it would be a mistake for her party to re-elect Johnson.

She commented: “He resigned when 55 of his ministers resigned in a three-day spree in July and was fed up with his lies and hypocrisy. Nothing has changed – he was even lounging in the Caribbean last week when he should have been voting in Parliament.

“There is no magic in politics in Britain over the next few years – post-Covid recovery, the cost of Putin’s war, all of it requires calm, wise minds at the helm. And his is not one of them.”

Sebastian Milbank, online editor of the British political magazine The criticsaid news week Johnson is likely to win if the vote goes to Conservative Party members.

He said: “Purely to reassure markets, Sunak is the obvious choice, as reflected by the 100+ MPs backing him. But from an electoral perspective, Boris is the only leader with a proven track record and a democratic mandate. and if he makes it to the final round of voting, he looks set to win against the unpopular former chancellor among members.

“For all the farce of returning to Boris, he is also the only person who can portray the failure of Truss’s agenda as an endorsement of his own leadership and approach. Everything now depends on whether Tory MPs will vote tactically to stop Boris from running off.”

However, Milbank warned that a second Johnson presidency would dangerously split his party.

He commented: “Should he win, Boris will lead a divided party and a country mired in a political and economic crisis for which he is largely responsible.

“Key former allies and supporters, including Lord Frost and his former Chief of Staff Steve Barclay, have urged him not to run and support Rishi Sunak instead.”

In Truss’ final days before her resignation, the Daily Star, a British tabloid, ran a livestream to see if she could stay in office longer than a salad.

https://www.newsweek.com/boris-johnsons-flight-tracked-thousands-he-eyes-uk-pm-return-1754059 Boris Johnson’s flight is watched by thousands as he watches the British Prime Minister’s return

Rick Schindler

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