Question Time audience member calls for Boris Johnson return
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Two members of a BBC Question Time debate have clashed over the possibility of Boris Johnson returning to Downing Street just months after his ignominious departure. One young male in the audience suggested the former prime minister was the only candidate who could “command a majority in the Commons” and had a “proper mandate”. But an elder member, in response, was adamant that someone who “trashed the codes of conduct within Parliament” should “never be allowed to stand again”. The debate appeared to reflect the sentiment in Westminster, with some Conservatives highlighting the fact that Mr Johnson, in his last no confidence vote in June, won over nearly 59 percent of MPs.
One backbencher told Express.co.uk the results were proving he is “demonstrably more popular” than Rishi Sunak. Others such as Sir Roger Gale, however, have said they would resign if Mr Johnson returns because of a perceived disregard for following the rules.
The young BBC QT audience member said: “Graham spoke earlier about someone that can command a majority in the Commons and Jess said something about [the Conservatives] needing a proper mandate.
“There is only one man who has got both of those boxes ticked and that is Boris Johnson. I think it is time for him to come back.”
Another audience member said: “That is the man who trashed the codes of conduct within Parliament.
“Graham has said that we cannot go ahead with an election immediately because we have a mandate for five years.
“So, if the Tories are prepared to hide behind the rules that way, they should be hiding behind or respecting all of the rules. Boris Johnson trashed the rules and I think he should never be allowed to stand again.”
Supporters of Boris Johnson are backing the former prime minister to make an extraordinary political comeback following the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss.
Just six weeks after he left No 10 for the final time, forced out by his own MPs after one scandal too many, allies are urging him to run again for a second shot at the Tory premiership.
If he does, he is likely to find himself up against Rishi Sunak – the former chancellor who is blamed by Mr Johnson’s supporters for bringing him down – and the Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt.
Such a move would be highly divisive within the Conservative Party, with reports some MPs could resign the whip and sit as independents rather than serve under Mr Johnson.
But his supporters argue that he alone of the potential candidates to be the new prime minister has won a general election and has a mandate from the British public.
In order to do so, however, he will need to secure the nominations of 100 of the party’s 357 MPs – a target that some at Westminster believe may be beyond him.
There was no immediate word from Mr Johnson – who was thought to be holidaying with his family in the Caribbean – on his intentions.
However diehard loyalist Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary, said she had spoken to him following Ms Truss’s resignation and hinted strongly that he was preparing to run.
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Ms Dorries said on Thursday: “He is a known winner and that is certainly who I’m putting my name against because I want us to win the general election. Having a winner in place is what the party needs to survive.”
Veteran backbencher Sir Roger Gale, a long-time critic of Mr Johnson, however, warned that if he succeeds he could be met with a wave of resignations by Tory MPs.
“I think that there would be people, indeed like myself, who would find ourselves in the awful position of having to resign the Conservative whip,” he said.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who called for an immediate general election, said the potential return of a man deemed “unfit for office” by his own MPs “adds insult to injury” for voters.
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