PM 'hoping for a return like Silvio Berlusconi', claims ex-minister
29th August 2022

Boris Johnson ‘hovering around’ and ‘hoping for a populist return like Silvio Berlusconi’, claims ex-Cabinet minister Rory Stewart

  • Ex-minister claims PM could stage ‘populist’ comeback like Italy’s Berlusconi
  • Rory Stewart, a critic of Boris Johnson, suggests PM will be ‘hovering around’
  • He points to Mr Johnson’s belief he was ‘badly treated’ by Conservative MPs 

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

Rory Stewart, who is a fierce critic of the outgoing Prime Minister, suggested Mr Johnson’s ‘extraordinary ego’ means he’ll be hoping for a second spell in Number 10.

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

Mr Stewart also likened Mr Johnson to other deposed leaders, such as Pakistan’s Imran Khan or Donald Trump in the US, as he claimed the PM would soon be ‘hovering around’ in anticipation of a political return.

Following this summer’s revolt by Tory MPs, Mr Johnson has little more than a week left in Downing Street before he’s succeeded by either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as PM.

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

Following this summer’s revolt by Tory MPs, Boris Johnson has little more than a week left in Downing Street before he’s succeeded by either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak

Silvio Berlusconi had three separate spells as Italy’s PM between 1994 and 2011, despite persistent political scandals 

Rory Stewart, who is a fierce critic of the outgoing Prime Minister, suggested Mr Johnson’s ‘extraordinary ego’ means he’ll be hoping for a second spell in Number 10

Mr Stewart, a former international development secretary, was among those who lost out to Mr Johnson in the 2019 Tory leadership race.

He today suggested the outgoing PM’s hopes of a political return were being fuelled by a belief he was ‘badly treated’ by his party.

‘I’m afraid he has an extraordinary ego and he believes that he was badly treated,’ Mr Stewart told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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

‘I fear we’ll end up with a second Berlusconi or a second Trump trying to rock back in again.’


Mr Stewart also likened Mr Johnson to other deposed leaders, such as Pakistan’s Imran Khan or Donald Trump in the US

Since being defeated by Joe Biden in the US presidential election in 2020, Mr Trump has consistently hinted he is planning to stand for re-election in 2024.

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

The ex-justice secretary recently used a magazine article to claim the PM – in a bid to copy his hero Winston Churchill – is already eyeing a second term in Downing Street.

Meanwhile, a friend of the PM last week claimed Mr Johnson is planning to rally Tory members with a ‘big speech’ at the party’s conference in October, if things are looking ‘dicey’ for Ms Truss, his likely successor.

Mr Stewart has previously branded Mr Johnson a ‘monstrous figure’ and someone who ‘lies all the time’ in a series of attacks on the PM.

Also speaking to the Guardian about Mr Johnson’s possible return to the political frontline, he said: ‘I think he is dangerous and there are people out there who want him to come back.

‘I think we need to remind people why he left. He should have gone much, much earlier. What he did was deeply, deeply shameful – and dangerous.

‘He’s trying to do an Imran Khan or a Berlusconi. He’s going to be hovering around, hoping for a populist return.’

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