Boris Johnson and his former finance minister, Rishi Sunak, were leading possible contenders to replace British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Friday, seeking support to become leader of the Conservative Party in an accelerated contest.
Truss resigned Thursday after six weeks in power and those who want to replace her must get 100 votes from Conservative lawmakers by next Monday to enter a race the party hopes will restore their ill fortune.
With opinion polls suggesting the Conservatives would be all but eliminated if national elections were held now, the race is on to become Britain’s fifth prime minister in six years – the winner to be announced either on Monday or next Friday.
In what would be an extraordinary comeback, Johnson, who was ousted by his lawmakers in July but remains popular with party members, was promoted along with Sunak as a possible candidate.
“He can change it again. And I’m sure my colleagues hear that message loud and clear. Boris Johnson can win the next general election,” Conservative lawmaker Paul Bristow told LBC radio.
But Johnson, who left office comparing himself to a Roman dictator who came to power twice to fight crises, may fall short of the 100-vote threshold after his three-year term was marred by scandals and allegations of misconduct. conduct, the Reuters news agency warned in a cable.
The Financial Times wrote that a Boris comeback would be “a farce”. One of his former advisers, who no longer speaks with Johnson and asked not to be identified, said it was unlikely he would achieve the goal since he had alienated dozens of conservative lawmakers.
Will Walden, who also once worked for Johnson, reported that the former leader was returning from vacation and conducting polls, while Business Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted his support, using the hashtag “#Borisorbust.”