Andy Coulson: 'It's hard to see how a Boris comeback could possibly end well'

21 October 2022, 21:20 | Updated: 21 October 2022, 21:35

Boris Johnson could stand to be the next Conservative leader
Boris Johnson could stand to be the next Conservative leader. Picture: Getty
Andy Coulson

By Andy Coulson

The return of Boris Johnson is without doubt a good story… a comeback that will afford him a honeymoon period of at least 90 minutes, two hours at a push.

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After that it will be BBAU - Boris Business As Usual… and there are a fair number of significant problems that await including the ongoing Privileges Committee inquiry, inevitable fresh resignations and, closer to home, a serious rethinking of the Johnson personal finances for 2023.

That lucrative book will have to go on hold. But the lure of the Downing Street lectern may well be too much for him to resist and he has no doubt already penned the opening line to his PM 2.0 press conference… “Now, where were we folks?”

Read more: 'Boris is up for it': Johnson flying home on Saturday to launch extraordinary comeback to No.10, ally claims

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But however much the party re-convinces itself that Boris is the mystical Only One Who Can Win – that he is the opponent Labour fear the most - it’s hard to see how this could possibly end well.

I talked about life after Liz with the former Chancellor George Osborne on my podcast Crisis What Crisis?

His view was that the Tories after 12 years in office have almost certainly reached the end of the road.

George, who was clear that Rishi Sunak would be the right choice to take on the almost impossible challenge of proving him wrong, said this about Liz Truss: “After the mini Budget she hid away. She didn’t come out and talk about it. Why let Jeremy Hunt make all those announcements?

Boris Johnson's come back could be ill-advised, Andy Coulson has said
Boris Johnson's come back could be ill-advised, Andy Coulson has said. Picture: Getty

"She should have been standing next to him... she should have been out there confronting the public, confronting the media, doing the interviews. We barely saw her."

Read more: Cabinet ministers come out in support for Boris as poll shows Rishi is the people's favourite

But perhaps most damning was his view of the Opposition: “The Labour Party now look pretty sensible. Together, united, focused on winning. Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves, Yvette Cooper – they look like people who could be a Government. And the Tories increasingly don’t look like that.”

Boris may well decide he has unfinished business with the Tory party. What he should be pondering before he takes the plunge is who, after they’ve scanned the initial headlines, will really give a monkeys? 

Boris Johnson giving a press conference in the Covid-19 pandemic
Boris Johnson giving a press conference in the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Getty

Because the real cost of the last six years of Tory chaos is a fundamental detachment from reality and real people’s lives.

In other words that the public may well have concluded, whichever cast member takes the lead in the next act of this farce, that they will not be buying a ticket.

Andy Coulson is host of the podcast and Founder of strategic advisory firm