Boris Johnson will return to No 10 after penning History of Brexit book

Boris Johnson resigns as Conservative leader

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Boris Johnson today gave his statement of resignation. He said the Conservative party had decreed that “there should be a new leader of that party and so a new Prime Minister,” and said a timetable for his departure will be set out by next week. The process of choosing that leader will begin from today, he added. He said he realised much of the public would be “relieved” by his departure, but that many would equally be “disappointed”.

However, he said that he will continue to serve until a new leader is in place.

Boos and loud music could be heard ringing out from the streets outside Downing Street during Mr Johnson’s speech.

The resignation came after an extraordinary 48 hours in which he appeared defiant, clinging to the premiership despite more than 50 Govenrment resignations and an all-out mutiny in his Cabinet.

Attention will now inevitably turn to what Mr Johnson might do after politics, with some suggesting he might revert to his former profession of author and journalist.

Bob Sheard, a political brand expert, believes that he will now focus his efforts on a history book “of the English speaking people’s Brexit”.

More interestingly, Mr Sheard believes that he could use this book as a “platform” to get back into politics — and potentially No 10.

He told Express.co.uk: “He will do what his hero, Winston Churchill did, and write a book, this time a history of Brexit.

“He will write the history and he will use that as a platform for a return.

“I do think he could come back in the future — [especially] if the Tory brand defaults to its normal conservative position, and doesn’t fully acknowledge the change that they’ve created.”

The Tory party has been transformed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving behind its traditional fiscal conservatism and pumping money into the public purse — also increasing things like corporation tax, unheard of from a Conservative-led Government.

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It has been noted that Mr Johnson’s style has mirrored less of a Tory and more of a populist, with figures like Dr Ben Williams, a lecturer in Politics and Political Theory at Salford University, noting: “As the archetypal populist politician of the 21 century, Johnson has an adaptable approach, willing to adopt the language of ‘one nation’, yet not always consistently delivering in practical policy terms.”

This has run up against several of the more traditional conservative members, including those who may now be running for the top job, like Mr Sunak, Mr Javid, and Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Sheard suggested that the Tories may need to carry on Mr Johnson’s legacy in order to uphold a solid “brand” and image in the eyes of the public.

If they revert back to the days of a leader like David Cameron, he said, they may lose the trust of the people.

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[ANALYSIS] 

Talking about how much of Mr Johnson’s premiership was based on Brexit, he said: “If [the party] detracts from being the agents of that change and say that that project is complete, let’s move on, then I think they’ll fail at the elections”.

He added: “But, if they say this is a process, and this project hasn’t finished and we are the agents of it so we have to finish it, then they’ve got the best chance.”

It is unclear who will replace Mr Johnson as leader and Prime Minister.

The main frontrunners are: Mr Hunt, the former Health Secretary; Mr Javid, the former Chancellor who resigned from his role as Health Secretary this week; Mr Sunak, who resigned as Chancellor also this week; Penny Mordaunt, the former Defence Secretary sacked by Mr Johnson in 2019; Tom Tugendhat, who has repeatedly thrown his hat in the ring; Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary; Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary; and the newly appointed Nadhim Zahawi, who only hours after being given the role called on Mr Johnson to resign.

 Given the myriad scandals and mishandlings that have hit Mr Johnson and his Government — the Partygate scandal, the Chris Pincher allegations, the handling of the cost of living crisis, among others — it is easy to assume that Mr Johnson will be viewed unfavourably in history.

However, Mr Sheard believes that with the passage of time, he will be viewed quite differently to how we imagine today: “People will see him as a flawed character, who operated in a way under his own rules, not everybody else’s.

“They will see him as a charismatic character that in so many ways represented the worst of celebrity in politics, and in so many ways represented an elite that work and operate under their own rules and not the rules they create.

“But with that there will be a little bit of affection for him as well, because they’ll feel like he was bullied out of office.

“He delivered for a large part of the electorate, he delivered Brexit and a Tory win, and there are a lot of people who voted for that — there will be residual affection.

“What he has to do is harness this residual affection with a stint in the wilderness, write his book on Brexit so he can reframe history in his favour, and then he has to create a vision for the future of the country post-Brexit and position himself as the man to deliver it.

“There’s going to be at least two terms before he comes back.”

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