Radio caller tips Nadine Dorries to replace Boris Johnson as PM

Not long ago, the prime minister was said to have eyed a decade in power – just over two and a half years into his tenure, few would say that is likely now.

If Boris Johnson is forced to resign immediately, he will have the shortest tenure as a prime minister since Sir Alec Douglas-Home in the mid-1960s.

He has been in the 10th for a little over two and a half years, fewer than Gordon Brown or Theresa May, two younger successors who also did not see full parliamentary terms in office.

Resigning would mean Mr Johnson joining Anthony Eden in the history books of a select group of post-war Prime Ministers who won a majority the first time but failed to survive to a full term.

His resignation would halt a remarkable political rise that has become one of the dominant currents in modern British politics.

Mr Johnson had already been a secure Tory MP and public figure for seven years when he decisively proved that he may possess a form of political alchemy.

He announced he would be Mayor of London, defied the odds to win in 2008 and pulled off the same trick again in 2012, securing two-round majorities both times. To put that in context, no Tory candidate has managed to get more than 45% of the vote since then.

He denied having any ambitions to become Prime Minister when he returned to Parliament in 2015, but Mr Johnson’s unsuitable role as a retiring backbench would not last long.

After months of speculation, he announced that he would contest the EU membership referendum against his old friend David Cameron.

He became a leading figure in the election campaign and helped change the course of British history, but botched the subsequent election of the leadership and opened the door to Theresa May.

After almost two years as her foreign minister, he resigned and became the chief agitator against the prime minister and her Brexit deal.

In the leadership elections that followed her resignation, he swept everyone in front of him with his pro-hard Brexit mantra and brought the same message to the country in December 2019.

Backed by the same machinery that helped win the referendum – notably Chief Advisor Dominic Cummings – he defied political expectations and won a decisive majority.

But although he has achieved his primary goal of leaving the EU and often ranks high in the polls, his tenure as prime minister has been fraught with controversy.

Over a two-year period dominated by Covid-19, Mr Johnson has seen his Downing Street operation unravel and high-profile scandals have eroded his political momentum.

There was significant dissatisfaction within his own party over a range of issues including the decision to increase Social Security, the imposition of Covid-19 restrictions and his badly botched attempts to save a Tory MP who was campaigning for paid clients used by the government

He himself has faced two major ethical investigations, the first over paying for a Caribbean holiday and the second over funding the extensive renovation of the Downing Street flat.

Revelations about gatherings held at Downing Street in breach of its own lockdown rules have sidelined some Tory MPs.

Mr Johnson has endured calls for his resignation from within his own party and his number 10 is now the subject of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

He has defiantly resisted political pressure and vowed to carry on, but the man who was once thought to have a Midas political touch now risks going down in history as the prime minister who won the war but lost the peace. Radio caller tips Nadine Dorries to replace Boris Johnson as PM

Justin Scacco

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