An electoral humiliation in May could see former UK prime minister Boris Johnson return to office by next Christmas, ex-culture secretary Nadine Dorries has told the Express. Dorries remained one of Johnson’s staunchest supporters even after he was ousted from Downing Street in July.
“I think there is a chance if the polls keep sliding by this time next year we will see Boris Johnson back in Downing Street,” Dorries told the British newspaper on Monday
Dorries reasoned that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s low popularity, coupled with the prospect of defeat in local elections in May, will make Conservative MPs realize that they owe their political careers to Johnson, who in 2019 steered the party to its largest majority since 1987 under Margaret Thatcher.
“Many of the people who were anti-Boris realize they are nothing without their seat,” she continued. “They have no voice, no one is interested in what they will have to say, not even down at the job center.”
Johnson resigned in July following months of scandals centering around the breaching of his own coronavirus lockdown rules. While a wave of resignations within his own cabinet helped push Johnson out, his replacements – Liz Truss followed by Rishi Sunak – did little to resurrect the party’s popularity with voters.
According to a recent poll, the Conservatives would lose almost 300 seats if a general election were held immediately, and the Labour Party would storm to a 314-seat majority. According to the poll, Sunak would not just lose the premiership, but forfeit his own Yorkshire constituency.
Read more: PM Boris Johnson set to leave his office
The upcoming local elections will not directly threaten Sunak’s grip on power, but will serve as a barometer of public opinion on his government. A resounding defeat will likely embolden Labour to call for a general election before the scheduled date of January 2025. Labour leader Keir Starmer demanded a general election in October following Truss’s resignation.
“I think the local elections in May are going to be absolutely difficult for us but Rishi won’t walk,” Dorries told the Express.
Dorries backed Johnson throughout the ‘Partygate’ scandal and accused Sunak and other key Tories of orchestrating a “coup” to remove him from office. Since stepping down following the appointment of Truss in September, Dorries has been working on a book about Johnson’s “downfall,” and is expected to be named on Johnson’s resignation honors list and awarded a peerage.