Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s campaign claims he has enough support from Conservative members of parliament to stand in an upcoming vote for prime minister, according to multiple reports, signaling what could be a stunning political comeback less than seven weeks after he left Downing Street.
The news came as a shock to most observers, since only 50 MPs have publicly declared support, according to the BBC.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is reportedly the only other potential candidate to clear the 100 nomination threshold required to appear on the ballot—neither Johnson nor Sunak have formally announced they are running.
Johnson returned to London on Saturday following a two-week vacation in the Dominican Republic—it’s not clear whether he cut the trip short.
Johnson was seated in economy class and booed by some passengers aboard his flight home, according to a Sky News reporter who was on the plane.
The claim Johnson hit 100 nominations drew some skepticism, with Conservative MP Richard Holden tweeting “they don’t exist.”
What To Watch For
Candidates have until 2 p.m. local time Monday to reach 100 nominations. If any get at least 156 nominations—a majority of Conservative MPs—they will become the new prime minister. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will appear on an online ballot, with the roughly 170,000 registered members of the Conservative Party voting to select the new prime minister. An election date hasn’t been set.
Johnson announced his resignation in July after serving just over two years as prime minister following the mass resignation of many of his top deputies over a series of scandals, such as parties Johnson illegally held during Covid lockdowns and his alleged mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations levied against a colleague. The Conservative Party selected Prime Minister Liz Truss as its new leader in an election that closed September 2—she was later declared the winner and assumed office September 6. Truss announced her resignation Thursday after a tumultuous six weeks in office marked by failed economic policies and the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Truss will become by far the shortest-serving British prime minister upon leaving office.