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Former British PM Johnson arrives in UK amid leadership bid speculation


Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived back in the UK on Saturday amid mounting speculation he will enter the Conservative leadership race to become premier again.

Johnson was on holiday in the Dominican Republic despite parliament being in session.

Local media reported that he told allies he wants to run for the leadership.

The move, yet to be officially confirmed, has exposed sharp divisions within the ruling Conservative Party, with some MPs – including several former and current Cabinet ministers – enthusiastically encouraging him to run, and other threatening to quit the party altogether if he does so.

Johnson was ousted by his MPs just six weeks ago following a series of scandals, including being found guilty of breaking his own COVID-19 lockdown rules.

New party rules mean any potential candidate will need at least 100 nominations from fellow MPs by 2 p.m. Monday to advance in the leadership race, meaning the maximum number of candidates is capped at three.

Rishi Sunak, Johnson’s former Treasury chief, is the other speculated main contender, but is yet to officially announce his candidacy either.

Sunak also has the support of many MPs, including senior figures, but is loathed by backers of Johnson and blamed for his downfall, despite the Conservative parliamentary party as a whole moving against him.

Johnson is more popular with the party base than with his fellow MPs, and Sunak vice versa.

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