Will Boris Johnson be the next Prime Minister?
YES – Rupert Myers, barrister and writer.
Of course Boris will be the next Prime Minister. Politics isn’t a meritocratic process – look at Trump and Brexit.
First, consider whether Vladimir Putin would like Boris to be PM. Obviously he would. Anything that might bring chaos or national humiliation.
Second, consider the process by which the next PM will likely be selected: a vote by the Conservative party’s internal membership. They aren’t going to pick a savvy centrist, but retreat into the “pure Brexit” comfort zone that Boris will offer them.
Can he be stopped by his parliamentary colleagues? Even they won’t have the guts to derail Boris. Why? Because the Conservatives tried to win a General Election against Jeremy Corbyn with an uncharismatic leader and it failed dreadfully.
Tories who want to cling to their jobs need someone who doesn’t seem like a politician, someone who can crack wise and charm a crowd. The lust for power and Boris’ cynical appeal to the comfort zones of Conservative members will all but ensure his victory, and the Kremlin will surely do the rest.
NO – Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London.
Boris Johnson is a classicist. So was Machiavelli. And I’d say it was the Renaissance special adviser, rather than some ancient Greek or Roman, who provides the better clue to the foreign secretary’s behaviour in the last few days.
Rather than making it more difficult for Theresa May to sack him, Boris might actually be trying to force her hand, thus leaving him free, when the Brexit brown stuff finally hits the fan, to say “I told you so”, and thereby claim his princely inheritance.
Except that it’s not his inheritance any more. Boris’s time was straight after the EU referendum, and he blew it. He simply didn’t have the parliamentary numbers to make it through to the final round decided on by grassroots members.
Since then, even they seem a little less keen. And there’s no evidence that Boris has persuaded more colleagues at Westminster to back him either.
Nil desperandum BoJo! But, right now, at least, Downing Street looks like a distant prospect.