Embattled UK leader Boris Johnson said he plans to stick around as prime minister for a third term until the mid-2030s, an act of defiance in the face of mounting political defeats and growing pressure within his own Conservative Party.
Earlier this month, Johnson survived a leadership challenge and there is growing speculation that another confidence vote is being hatched in the wake of a double by-election defeat. But Johnson, speaking to reporters in Rwanda before heading to a Group of Seven leaders summit in Germany, made clear that he has no intention of stepping aside.
If anything he’s clinging on. With the next elections expected to be in 2024, he was asked by reporters in Rwanda if he wanted to serve a second term to 2029. According to the Press Association, this was his response: “At the moment I am thinking actively about the third term and you know, what could happen then . . . this is the mid-2030s.”
His answer came after the chairman of Johnson’s ruling Conservatives, Oliver Dowden, resigned his post after the party lost two key parliamentary seats on Thursday night. That has prompted some Tory Members of Parliament to consider standing for election to the influential backbench 1922 committee, in order to change the rules and allow a fresh vote of confidence in Johnson’s leadership.
At the moment, the premier is safe for a year after surviving such a vote this month — even though four in 10 of his own MPs voted against him.
The collapse in Tory support in Wakefield, northern England, and Tiverton and Honiton in the southwest has renewed doubts about whether Johnson can lead them to victory in the next general election, which is due by January 2025 at the latest.
Johnson, in his comments to reporters said: “I love my colleagues and of course I would urge them respectfully: golden rule of politics, the more we focus on Westminster politics the more irritating it is to voters.”