Boris Johnson’s decision to call off comeback divides readers

Michael Fabricant says Boris supporters 'feel betrayed'

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Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to discount himself from the leadership race on Sunday evening has divided readers in a new poll. He announced his decision to pull out of the contest by claiming that “it is not the right thing to do”.

Mr Johnson had been expected to declare his candidacy and compete against Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt to replace Liz Truss after she resigned, ending her Premiership after less than six weeks.

He travelled back to London from his holiday in the Dominican Republic to gather support among Tory MPs, but in the end chose to withdraw himself early, releasing a statement that he would not be putting himself forward on this occasion, reasoning that “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament”.

Mr Johnson continued: “In the last few days I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who suggested that I should once again contest the Conservative Party leadership, both among the public and among friends and colleagues in Parliament.”

He continued: “I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024 – and tonight I can confirm that I have cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations, including a proposer and a seconder, and I could put my nomination in tomorrow. 

“There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members – and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday.

“But in the course of the last days, I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do.”

He also pledged his support towards the new Prime Minister and hinted at a future comeback, adding that “this is simply not the right time”.

In a poll that ran from midday on Monday, October 24, to midday on Tuesday, October 25, asked readers: “Was Boris Johnson right to quit leadership race?”

From the 1,472 votes cast, readers were divided with 53 percent (773 people) answering “no” he was not right, compared to 46 percent (681 people) who said “yes” he was right.

Meanwhile, a further one percent (18 people) said they did not know.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers debated Mr Johnson’s decision.

Many readers agreed that Mr Johnson should have continued in the leadership race with username miagre1 writing: “Gutted Boris didn’t stick with it. Hope he stands for the next election in 2024.”

Another, username rabey said: “I’m more than a little surprised and in a way angry, that Boris pulled out of the PM contest. A lot of people put their names, reputation and support for Boris. 

“I viewed him as a winner, not someone who would cave in under pressure. I would have preferred Boris to hang in there and lose, rather than give up the fight. Sad times.”

However, other readers argued that Mr Johnson had made the right decision, with username Harker commenting: “For me personally no, however, he has made the right choice for the country.”

Username Miggy Mig said: “They were never going to let him win – so yes, he did the right thing.”

While username AmbroseRookwood said: “The Tory Party is heading for an electoral disaster in just under two years’ time. The country is heading for the true horrors of a labour government in just under 2 years’ time.

“Therefore BoJo is wise to body-swerve an outcome that will be bad for the Tories and an absolute tragedy for the country.”

Some readers thought that this was not the end of Mr Johnson’s political career, as username lla ma dos said: “I would not rule out Boris. He will be back after the next general election…he is not daft.”


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Username T.Jones said: “He will be back, not at the moment, he did right withdrawing. Any trouble now with the Conservative’s running the country they can’t use Boris as a scapegoat to blame.”

And username Emma Lou said: “Yes, now is not the right time at the moment he will be back again in the future I’m sure!”

Mr Sunak was confirmed as Britain’s new Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party on Monday afternoon, following Mr Johnson and Ms Mordaunt’s withdrawals. He met with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday morning. 

In his inaugural speech, he said that the UK is facing a “profound economic crisis” and that he has been chosen to fix the mistakes of Ms Truss. He also dismissed growing calls for an early general election.

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