Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson could make a return to Downing Street this year after a Tory peer claimed there is a “strong probability”, and a new poll of Express.co.uk readers has found that a majority of people support this scenario. Mr Johnson led the Conservative Party to a landslide victory in the last general election and navigated the Brexit deal, the COVID-19 pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine before a series of scandals ended his premiership in July last year.
Tory peer and ally Stephen Greenhalgh claimed Mr Johnson could make a comeback in 2023, telling BBC Newsnight last week: “I think it is likely, not 100 percent certain but there’s a strong probability he will return.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to prioritize halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting NHS waiting lists, and stopping small-boat crossings to the UK. However, some MPs claim he does not have long to secure his premiership.
One Tory MP told Express.co.uk Mr Johnson’s comeback could be on the cards if the Tories take a significant knock at the local elections in May, adding: “It’s what the voters want.” They said Mr Sunak only has until the middle of the year to win over Tory voters.
Another MP said Mr Sunak only has until March at the latest to resolve the migrant crisis, adding that Mr Johnson could have a “good chance” of a comeback if no solution is acted upon. Mr Johnson hinted at a future comeback during his final speech outside Number 10, referring to Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a Roman patrician, statesman, and military leader of the early Roman Republic.
READ MORE: Boris gearing up for comeback as former PM braced for ‘big role’
In a poll that ran from 9am on Friday, January 6, to 8.30am on Wednesday, January 11, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should Boris Johnson stage a comeback?”
Overall, 11,326 votes were cast with the majority of readers, 57 percent (6,460 people) answering “yes” in support of Mr. Johnson returning to Number 10.
In contrast, 42 percent (4,769 people) said “no” against Mr. Johnson returning, and a further one percent (97 people) said they did not know either way.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers debated Mr Johnson’s future.
Many readers argued that Mr Johnson should return, with one, username JL77, writing: “Yes absolutely, we need Boris.”
Username jantyjanty said: “Yes, get him back, he is the only one who can save the Conservative Party.”
Another, username Proudtobebritish, said: “Out of them all he is the only one that will sort it out, after all, he was the one who put the Tories back in at the last general election.”
And username Grayling added: “Yes if he wants to.”
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Some MPs have rubbished the idea of Mr Johnson’s return. A close ally and Tory MP told The Times: “That would lose us the election. It was a mistake to get rid of him, but having another leader would be very divisive going into an election. Boris doesn’t like to fail, so I’m not sure he would even want it. He’s a brilliant political leader, but he’s not a magician.”
They continued: “If the Tories were facing a 1997-scale defeat, would he really want to go down in history as the leader who took the Tories to one of their greatest victories and then led them to one of the worst [defeats]?”
Another ally told the publication that Mr Johnson is beyond a return as Tory leader in his political career, adding that “the rational conclusion is he will never become PM again”.
The latest tracker poll by Techne for Express.co.uk between January 4 and 5 put Labout on 46 percent, ahead of the Conservatives on 25. Meanwhile, the Liberal Demoncrats held third place with nine percent followed by Reform UK on eight.