4 reasons Boris Johnson will never become PM

He might be the grassroots’ favourite to succeed Theresa May, but he will never become prime minister.

A recent YouGov poll suggested that Boris Johnson tops the list of potential leadership contenders amongst party members. Here are four reasons why talk of a Boris leadership is hypothetical at best.

1. His lack of statesmanship

Once Theresa May steps down, the party will probably want a real leader to take over. Boris Johnson loves to talk the talk and play the fool, but he's no statesman. There is no denying that he is an intelligent politician who loves to be the class clown, but the party’s leadership contest process – in which MPs whittle candidates down to two to be voted on by party members – will result in a sensible outcome. Remember, it's only been just over a year since Boris ruled out a leadership bid as he could not muster enough support.

It’s extremely hard to imagine the party backing Johnson over more states-person-like options.

2. Brexit opportunism

If the EU referendum campaign revealed anything about Boris Johnson, it’s that he's an opportunist of the highest order. After years of EU rumblings and indecision, Boris Johnson’s surprise decision to back the Vote Leave campaign was met with cries of opportunism.

At times, it feels as if politics is all one big game to Johnson, whereas in reality it's about governing and being the change one wishes to see in the world.

3. The old guard

There is a growing notion that the next Conservative leader needs to be a fresh face, someone distant from the old guard of Boris Johnson, David Davis, Amber Rudd and the like. The Guardian recently reported that senior Conservative figures are calling for an “axe” to the “old guard”.

Someone new and exciting could energise the party. Boris has far too much baggage.

4. A divisive figure

It’s looking more and more likely that Theresa May will remain leader for the foreseeable future, but once the UK leaves the EU, it’s hard not to imagine an impending leadership contest. By then, with the government’s slim majority with the DUP, a new election will look very likely. The problem for Boris is that the party will want someone who can unite the party and (attempt to) unite the country. Theresa May benefited in 2016 from being a remainer, but she managed to strike a chord with her “Brexit means Brexit” mantra to gain support from both sides of the divide. Johnson was a prominent leaver in the Brexit campaign, and while the party now supports Brexit, it’s difficult to imagine the foreign secretary being seen as a “unity figure” for an upcoming general election.

Have something to tell us about this article?