Shapps backs Sunak when questioned on Boris Johnson
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Boris Johnson could offer Rishi Sunak “good behaviour” in exchange for a safe Conservative seat, allies of the former Prime Minister have claimed. Mr Johnson, who only left Downing Street in September, reportedly intends to stand at the next general election after some of his colleagues announced plans to stand down. However, the 58-year-old might look to “leverage” his position if the Tory Party perform poorly in May’s local elections.
Four months after he left Number 10, a small band of Boris backers still hope the Brexiteer can return as Prime Minister before Brits next go to the polls in a general election.
An ally told the Times that “only two dozen, maybe three dozen at most” want Johnson to oust Sunak.
They added: “We would just look ridiculous if we changed PM again. Most people get that.”
Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is urging MPs to bring back Johnson.
She told TalkTV: “Conservative MPs have one very simple question to ask themselves when they look in the mirror, and that is: do you want to continue being an MP?”
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However, Mr Johnson is unlikely to follow in the footsteps of fellow Old Etonian David Cameron and quit politics following his resignation as Prime Minister.
An ally conceded: “He would find it very hard to give up.”
Johnson’s allies have instead put forward a plan in the Times for an informal truce between the ex-Prime Minister and former Chancellor.
Assuming the Tory Pary get hammered in May, Johnson can “go to Rishi and say ‘give me a seat in exchange for good behaviour'”.
According to the broadsheet, Sunak does not wield direct power over candidate selection.
However, Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) would have more power to effectively impose Johnson on any seat where an incumbent announced plans to retire.
He was returned to Parliament in 2019 with a majority of just over 7,000.
However, the constituency is now widely believed to be vulnerable to Labour.
The ex-Prime Minister’s spokesman denied he had plans to oust Sunak or change his seat.
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When Johnson left Downing Street in September, he speculated a return after comparing himself to Roman consul Cincinnatus.
Mr Johnson then staged a short-lived bid to return as Conservative Party leader but quit the race amid concerns he would be unable to unite the party.
Despite speculation about the ex-Prime Minister gunning for a safer seat, Mr Johnson has lobbied for Uxbridge’s local hospital and police station in the Commons chamber.
He has also been uploading regular videos to his social media platforms in an attempt to highlight the work he is doing in the local area.
Following the release of his Christmas message, a Tory MP told Express.co.uk: Boris still has an enormous amount to offer British politics, I look forward to seeing him re-elected as an MP and banging the drum for conservatism long into the future.”
Another argued: “I know that Boris fully intends to fight Uxbridge and win.
“He has a strong local following, residents tell me.”
A third MP added: “I think what this shows is that aside from what people see of him as a public figure, he’s also an excellent MP working hard on local issues in his constituency.”
However, other Conservative colleagues would not welcome a ‘Churchill-style’ comeback.
A minister, who was loyal for much of Johnson’s stint in Downing Street, told the Times: “Boris isn’t coming back. I will do everything I can to stop it.”
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