Boris Johnson's return as Prime Minister would be completely unacceptable – Scotsman comment

With his last words at Prime Minister’s Questions – “hasta la vista, baby” – and in his final Downing Street speech – when he referenced the ancient Roman statesman Cincinnatus who resigned and went back to his farm, only to return as a dictator – Boris Johnson told us he would be back.

What fools we were to think even the current Conservative party would never consider such a foolish and damaging move. The man who was forced to relinquish office by his own MPs because of serial dishonesty is now a serious contender to replace his own replacement, the hapless Liz Truss. Perhaps they plan to take it in turns until they have eked out every last minute of the 2019 election’s mandate – drunk on power, living it up on the state’s tab and intermittently squabbling amongst themselves while the country's economy goes down the toilet.

Rory Stewart, a former Conservative Cabinet minister, lamented: “Only a nation which was gripped by pessimistic despair and no longer believed that there could be a serious response to its unfolding tragedies would want to take refuge in the leadership of a clown.” Once we could have relied on Tories like Stewart, Dr Sarah Wollaston, former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen to steer a vaguely sensible course.

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But they were among the old-school Conservative MPs who were either expelled from the party by Johnson or who left in dismay at what this once serious party became following the Brexit referendum.

As Stewart knows, what the nation wants and what is about to happen are two very different things. It appears the last thing Conservative MPs want is a general election because they know what will happen, with one new poll putting the party on just 14 per cent. As the Tory MP Charles Walker said – while attacking the “talentless” MPs who backed Truss – “a lot of my colleagues are wondering… how they’re going to pay their mortgages if this all comes to an end soon”. It looked like he only just remembered to say “as many of their constituents are wondering” in the middle of that sentence.

One Truss backer was Penny Mordaunt, so far the only MP to formally launch her leadership bid. While Rishi Sunak warned against Truss’s “fairytale economics”, Mordaunt apparently thought it was time for Trussonomics.

Just as we must remember those who backed Truss, if Johnson stands, we must discover the name of every MP who supports him because they are marking themselves out to be entirely unfit to be an MP.

If they think he is popular or a “winner”, they are foolishly ignoring his dire personal ratings which hit minus 46 towards the end of his time in Downing Street – only five points better than Truss’s worst. They are also ignoring the good reasons why those ratings were so low.

Boris Johnson was forced to resign as Prime Minister for good reasons (Picture: Aaron Chown/WPA pool/Getty Images)Boris Johnson was forced to resign as Prime Minister for good reasons (Picture: Aaron Chown/WPA pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson was forced to resign as Prime Minister for good reasons (Picture: Aaron Chown/WPA pool/Getty Images)

Johnson was the first Prime Minister in history found to have broken the law while in office. And not just any law – his own Covid lockdown rules. As people were denied the chance to say goodbye to dying loved ones, Johnson and his staff threw parties. At Prince Philip’s funeral service, the Queen sat grieving alone and wearing a face mask, sending a strong message to everyone watching. In the early hours of that same day, doubtless inspired by Johnson’s example, his staff were staggering home from a drunken Downing Street party.

When asked about the rumoured parties, Johnson repeatedly lied, insisting the rules were followed. And those lies are still the subject of a parliamentary inquiry into whether he deliberately misled the Commons, which could see him suspended or even recalled as an MP and forced to seek re-election.

Yet, sometime next week, amid the most serious economic crisis this country has faced since the 2008 crash, Johnson could be back in 10 Downing Street. Heaven help the country if that happens; as for the Tory party, support as high as 14 per cent may soon be a distant dream.



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