Tory members want Boris Johnson back
A new poll reveals seller's remorse among the Conservative membership
Voting has barely begun in the British Conservative Party’s election of a new leader, and already the first evidence has emerged that they want Boris Johnson back.
The latest YouGov/Times poll of Conservative members reveals that, if Boris Johnson was included on the ballot he would be far out ahead of both frontrunner Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak. 40% of Tory members would choose Johnson, over 28% for Truss and 23% for Sunak.
Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email
Already registered? Sign in
The poll, of 1054 Conservative party members taken between July 29th and August 2nd, also found that most Tory members (53%) think it was wrong for Conservative MPs to force Johnson to resign, compared to 41% who supported the change of leadership. 45% of members think the contest has shown the party in a bad light, against only 15% who think the leadership election has been a good thing for the party.
Rumours have already surfaced of Boris Johnson planning a comeback, after his final words at Prime Minister’s Questions were ‘hasta la vista, baby’ — or ‘until next time’.
Liz Truss is strongly ahead, showing a 34-point lead over her rival.
You can never go back, but that has not stopped people from trying. Boris would be better trying a new thing, whilst genuinely suupporting his successor, unlike most former Prime Ministers who are akin to albatrosses the way they hang around the necks of those who follow on.
That’s all very well, but somebody has to run the country.
I attended a meeting of members with our local MP last night. We were asked if we wanted Boris back. Not one hand was raised.
People have become wary of revealing their real inclinations in public for fear of being vilified or cancelled.
How are you going to cancel a (say) a pensioner in Surrey?
a drone, sniper? how much will I get?
From the Spectator (How much more Tory can you get):
Yet the very tone of the campaign so far is giving Truss’s people confidence. Sunak may be able to point to wider electoral appeal but he has so far offered little to excite the grassroots. ‘Liz trails on electability and likeability, but remember we elected Iain Duncan Smith in 2001. Our members have their own priorities – they don’t really care as much about the big picture,’ argues a senior MP. ‘Voters’ emotion will trump their logic.’
The Truss message is one of optimism, even if its realism has been questioned. ‘They [Team Sunak] are running a pretty negative campaign,’ says a Truss backer. ‘If people think there is an imaginary river, you don’t tell them there isn’t, you build them an imaginary bridge.’ This is why Truss has been quick to accuse Sunak of peddling Project Fear – despite the fact she was on the other side of it during the Remain campaign.
As a Cameron advisers once said “mad, swivel-eyed loons”.
This is precisely why Conservative MPs should be very, very wary about taking advice from party members.
I remember there was a spell of this about 20 years ago, under Michael Howard. Bring back corporal and capital punishment? Yup. Bring back grammar schools? Absolutely. Etc. Etc. These duly became party policy, and helped make the Conservatives unelectable in 2005.
It occurred to me then, that if MPs asked the views of their activists, then adopted the polar opposite view, they would not go far wrong.
This is why I think that asking the party members to choose the leader, is an idea which now past its sell-by date.
I don’t remember Corporal or capital punishment being Tory policy this side of the 1970s
Don’t you think it’s strange that none of the three ‘policies’ you mention appeared in the Conservatives’ 2005 manifesto?
I would wager that the ‘tory members wanting Johnson back’ do not include any fishermen or people from Northern Ireland. (Let’s pretend to “Get Brexit done”)
Boris Johnson should never have been ousted out in the first place, he’s the only decisive prime minister in years to lead this country forward & out of this mess.
As with Trump, his followers parrot what the great man says – the ‘election was stolen’, ‘they’ll regret sacking me’ etc…
As Biden says, “Everything is tiktokpocketytissue. End sentence. Sit down.”
I don’t give a fig about Biden, and I know about whataboutery. I generally defer to people in the know, such as the guy who said yesterday, “In our nation’s 236-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump,”
That’s it, just ‘no’? Ouch. Not the first time I’ve been KO’d by the stunning rhetoric of Trump & Johnson fans.
I have no love for the other side either, but at least they are not denounced, over and over again, by those who know them best (colleagues, employers, family members, business associates etc).
Health warning it is almost impossible to poll Tory members there are not enough of them
But I would like to echo the sentiment as a Labour member, we want JC back, the country is crying out for a clear choice between far right and soft left
Corbyn is not ‘soft left’, any more than Johnson or Truss are ‘far right’.
If we are in nostalgia mode, can I get Screaming Lord Sutch back? He would likely be a more serious Prime Minister than either of your alternatives.
Prepare yourself for eternal unhappiness …
Join the discussion
To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.
Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.Subscribe