Boris Johnson ally says 'distinct possibility' he could return as PM

·3-min read
SIZEWELL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: UK prime minister Boris Johnson speaks during his visit to EDF's Sizewell B Nuclear power station in September 1, 2022 in Sizewell, England. Outgoing UK prime minister Johnson on Thursday promised £700 million for the Sizewell C nuclear power station project during his final major policy speech. (Photo Chris Radburn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson could return to Downing Street, friend and Tory Peer Lord Jonathan Marland told Newsnight. (Getty)

There is a "distinct possibility" Boris Johnson could return as Prime Minister one day, a friend and Tory peer has said.

Lord Jonathan Marland, a former Conservative Party Treasurer who also ran Johnson's Mayoral campaign in 2008, told the BBC's Newsnight programme that the outgoing PM is an "irresistible and unique character" who could one day return to Downing Street.

Asked if Johnson, who resigned in July, could be back in Number 10, Lord Marland said: "I think there's a distinct possibility. The scenario cold be that we lose the next election, we'll be looking for a leader who can win elections and of course Boris has that.

"As he said to me the other day, he wants to go and put hay in the loft - in other words, build up his bank balance so that he can afford to pay for the lifestyle that he has created.

"And I think once he's done that, if he is still a Member of Parliament and hasn't been found to have behaved incorrectly by the standards committee, which is a possibility, he does have that opportunity."

Read more: Sexual misconduct allegations revealed against cabinet minister and top No 10 aide

Lord Marland heaped praise on his friend, who he said had - by his own admission - not spent "enough time looking in the rear view mirror".

He said: "He is this most irresistible and unique character who has been a compelling player in politics for the last 15 years and a reference point for many politicians.

"So this is kind of an end of a bit of a helter skelter period, if one would put it politely, and he will be a great loss to politics but hopefully it will only be a temporary loss."

Speaking on the same programme, former Attorney General Dominic Grieve branded Johnson an "attractive conman", saying: "It's not the rear view mirror he needed to look at. He needed to look at his own reflection in his own mirror."

He drew a comparison between Johnson and some of the people he had previously represented in court, and accused the outgoing Prime Minister of touting a "false prospectus" to voters and failing to deliver on various promises, including over Brexit.

The future of the serving PM has been the source of intense speculation following his resignation speech in early July that was laced with bitterness at his ousting following a series of scandals.

While his tone has since softened - later that month he said he was going to hand over the controls seamlessly to someone else - earlier this week he repeatedly refused to rule out a comeback.

Asked on a visit to Dorset on Tuesday if he would rule out a comeback, Johnson told reporters: “I think on the whole people in this country are more interested in their gigabit broadband than they are in the fate of this or that politician.”

He also declined to be drawn on what he will do when is replaced as prime minister by either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak.

Rory Stewart, a former Conservative leadership rival of the Prime Minister, has also warned that Johnson could try to make a comeback.

“I fear we’re going to end up with a second Berlusconi or a second Trump trying to rock back in again,” the former Tory Cabinet minister said.