Route to power: is it a case of second time lucky for Boris?

Boris Johnson chairing meeting

With the probability that Theresa May will not lead Conservatives into the next election, can Boris Johnson make it to the top?

The last Conservative leadership election started off with flair and drama, but ended with an anti-climactic whimper when Andrea Leadsom pulled out, leaving Theresa May as the only candidate.

Boris Johnson was inititally perceived by many as the front-runner, but after Michael Gove entered the race Johnston quit. According to the Spectator, at the end of what could have been a leadership bid, he said, “I have concluded that person [to lead the country] cannot be me.”

However, one year on from those events, the foreign secretary has put himself at odds with the government’s position over the issue of the public sector pay cap, perhaps suggesting he is trying to distance himself from a struggling administration.

With a leadership election in the Conservative party likely to take place some point within the next few years, according to the Telegraph, unless Theresa May’s political stock sky-rockets once more, then the party could be facing another internal election, and this time could Boris take the crown?

How the contest works

Candidates are nominated (by any two Conservative MPs). Tory MPs then vote in a secret ballot for the candidates. The candidate that comes last in the first round of voting gets knocked out and MPs then vote again. The process continues until two MPs are left standing. There is then a vote amongst Conservative members, however, in the last election this did not happen as Leadsom left the contest at this stage. The winner is declared leader of the party.

If Boris Johnson received the immediate backing from half the MPs available he would be guaranteed a place in the final round (assuming no minds were later change), but anything less than that and it would become more difficult as he would need to ensure that he is not last in each round.

His opponents

Having once been the favourite to lead the Conservative party, Boris Johnson faces potential rivals, which could come in the shape of David Davis, Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd. There could also be some dark horses. Most people had never heard of Andrea Leadsom before the last leadership election, but she went on to be in the final two.

William Hill gives Boris odds of 4/1, behind Philip Hammond on 7/2 and David Davis on 3/1. The home secretary, Amber Rudd is on 9/1 with the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson – who is not even an MP - on 12/1. All odds are accurate as of 4th July 2017.

If recent politics has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. Boris could win easily or once again pull out if things do not go his way.

If it is a case of the latter, maybe we will be back in a few years asking: third time lucky, Boris?