Can Boris Johnson come back as Prime Minister as Liz Truss resigns as leader of the Conservative Party?

Can Boris Johnson come back as Prime Minister as Liz Truss resigns as leader of the Conservative Party?

Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after an incredibly challenging first few weeks as leader of the Conservative Party. Her premiership lasted just 44 days, with the highlight - or rather lowlight - being a ‘mini budget’ set out by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng.

Conservative supporters had been calling for Truss to go after her recent sacking of Kwarteng, U-turns on key decisions surrounding inflation and cost of living, and a bizarre eight-minute press conference that was dubbed a failure.

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Even with a change of Chancellor - with Jeremy Hunt taking over the role - recent polls suggested Labour could manage a landslide victory. The polls were likely to be strengthened further after Suella Braverman resigned as Home Secretary - fueling further chaos on Downing Street. Truss announced her resignation at 1.30pm on Thursday.

Jeremy Hunt addresses the Commons having ripped up the Truss Government's 'mini-budget'

Boris Johnson, who only stepped down as PM on September 6 of this year, had been touted as one of those who could take over the role if Truss was to leave, and now she’s gone these rumours are intensifying. When stepping down from office, Johnson did hint at a future return to the front benches with a cultural reference - so it may not be that far-fetched, incredibly.

His final speech outside Downing Street outlined the story of Cincinnatus - an old Roman politician and statesman who was in retirement, living life as a farmer. However, when Rome was threatened with invasion, he took up power of the republic and single-handedly defeated the enemy.

He then relinquished power, returning to his farm. Political commentators at the time speculated this reference could have been a veiled hint at an intent to return to front-bench politics at some point in the future, perhaps even the office of Prime Minister.

Could Boris Johnson return as Prime Minister if Liz Truss were to resign?

There are no rules that would forbid Johnson from being Prime Minister again, even so soon after his first stint ended. Johnson is also very much a popular figure among Tory voters - with a strong celebrity status among floating and centre-right voters - despite losing the trust of other groups of voters.

This means that - despite a career filled with controversy and scandal - Johnson could genuinely be an electoral proposition for the Conservatives. With Truss leaving office so quickly, however, it may have come too soon for Johnson, as he is currently looking to secure his finances on the international speaking circuit.

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He is also still the subject of an ongoing Commons investigation into the Partygate scandal, meanwhile, opposition parties would likely be licking their lips at a previously tarnished figure returning to the reins. So could Johnson return? The answer right now is unknown, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.