With the knives seemingly out for the increasingly beleaguered Prime Minister Theresa May, is now the time for Boris Johnson to finally take up the mantle? The charismatic Foreign Secretary is well known for his outrageous eccentricity, but his disruptive behaviour over the last few weeks has led to concerns over his ability to govern.
After the Olympic games in 2012, the then Mayor of London Boris Johnson was at the top of his game. But the years since have not been as kind to Johnson. His flip-flopping on the issue of Brexit ended with him becoming a figurehead for the “leave” campaign. Along with fellow cabinet minister Michael Gove, the pair set to split the Conservative party in two on one of its most contentious issues, Europe.
Around the time of the referendum, Johnson was pitting himself against old school chum and Prime Minister David Cameron. The pair apparently vehemently opposed to each other behind closed doors, their differing opinions split the country. But in the end, it was the underdog Johnson who came out on top in the battle for supremacy over Europe. After the shock result, Cameron promptly resigned and threw the whole Conservative party into a tailspin that to this day is struggling to recover from.
That brings us to today and once again a case of Boris Johnson VS the incumbent Prime Minister. Johnson was roundly criticised after the referendum for dropping out of the race to be the next Conservative leader and thus Prime Minister. If, as it appears he is trying to do now, dethrone the Prime Minister, is there any guarantee that he will try to take up the mantle this time?
All of this, of course, is semantics, Theresa May has stated and now restated that she is not going anywhere. She still claims that her leadership is calming, though if whispers are to be believed, the party is far from calm. Even after her somewhat unfortunate performance at the Conservative party conference, she still limps on. But with Brexit on the horizon and potentially his star beginning to wane (especially with those in the party who worry about his staggering lack of loyalty) will he again shun the spotlight if offered the opportunity to take it?
The one benefit that could come from a Johnson premiership is his clear line on Brexit. If there is one thing that has been lacking from the Conservatives, it is that there has been a staggering lack of clarity to the plans. If Johnson could control his cabinet, it is likely that the manner of the Brexit would be more controlled, if not necessarily to everyone’s taste. Since choosing the winning side in 2016 Johnson has stayed pretty close to his principles on leaving the European Union. But for immigrants and those who are thinking of coming to the UK, a Johnson premiership could spell the worst. His vision of Brexit brings into focus the stark reality that there could be no deal on the future of the relationship with the EU and freedom of movement would end instantly and with no real plan to fix the problems that would cause.