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Boris Johnson ‘floats around’ and ‘hopes for return like Silvio Berlusconi’, claims ex-minister

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Boris Johnson ‘floats around’ and ‘hopes for a populist return like Silvio Berlusconi’, claims ex Cabinet Secretary Rory Stewart

  • Ex-minister claims PM could stage ‘populist’ comeback like Italian Berlusconi
  • Rory Stewart, a critic of Boris Johnson, suggests PM will ‘float’
  • He points to Mr Johnson’s belief that he has been ‘treated badly’ by Conservative MPs

Boris Johnson could return to power with a ‘populist’ comeback, similar to Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, an ex-cabinet minister claimed.

Rory Stewart, who is a fierce critic of the outgoing prime minister, suggested that Mr Johnson’s “extraordinary ego” means he hopes for a second stint in issue 10.

The former Tory MP suggested Johnson could try to copy Berlusconi – the controversial politician who had three separate stints as Italy’s prime minister, despite persistent scandals such as ‘bunga bunga’ sex parties.

Stewart also compared Mr Johnson to other deposed leaders, such as Pakistani Imran Khan or Donald Trump in the US, for claiming the prime minister will soon be “hanging out” awaiting a political return.

After this summer’s uprising by Tory MPs, Johnson has just over a week left in Downing Street before being succeeded by Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as prime minister.

The result of the ongoing Conservative leadership contest will be announced next Monday, with Ms Truss or Mr Sunak to be formally appointed Prime Minister the following day.

After this summer’s uprising by Tory MPs, Boris Johnson has just a week left in Downing Street before being succeeded by Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak.

Silvio Berlusconi had three separate stints as prime minister of Italy between 1994 and 2011, despite ongoing political scandals

Silvio Berlusconi had three separate stints as prime minister of Italy between 1994 and 2011, despite ongoing political scandals

Rory Stewart, who is a fierce critic of the outgoing prime minister, suggested that Mr Johnson's

Rory Stewart, who is a fierce critic of the outgoing prime minister, suggested that Mr Johnson’s “extraordinary ego” means he hopes for a second stint in issue 10

Mr Stewart, a former Secretary of State for International Development, was among those who lost to Mr Johnson in the 2019 Tory leadership race.

He suggested today that the outgoing prime minister’s hopes for a political return were fueled by a belief that he had been “ill-treated” by his party.

“I’m afraid he has an extraordinary ego and he feels he has been mistreated,” Stewart told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“He doesn’t see the reality, which is that he was a terrible prime minister and lost his job because of deep character flaws.

“I’m afraid we’ll end up with a second Berlusconi or a second Trump trying to recover.”

Imran Khan

Donald Trump

Stewart also compared Johnson to other deposed leaders, such as Pakistani Imran Khan or Donald Trump in the US

Since being defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 US presidential election, Trump has consistently hinted that he plans to run for re-election in 2024.

Stewart joined his fellow former Tory minister David Gauke in suggesting Johnson is plotting a political comeback.

The ex-justice minister recently used a magazine article to claim that the prime minister – in an attempt to copy his hero Winston Churchill – is already planning a second term in Downing Street.

Meanwhile, a friend of the prime minister last week claimed that Mr Johnson plans to rally Tory members with a “big speech” at the party conference in October, if things look “bad” for Ms Truss, his likely successor.

Mr Stewart has previously labeled Mr Johnson a “monstrous figure” and one who “lies all the time” in a series of attacks on the Prime Minister.

Also in conversation with the Guardian on Mr Johnson’s possible return to the political front, he said: ‘I think he is dangerous and there are people who want him to come back.

“I think we need to remind people why he left. He should have gone much, much sooner. What he did was deeply, deeply embarrassing—and dangerous.

“He’s trying to make an Imran Khan or a Berlusconi. He just hangs around, hoping for a populist return.’

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