Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

Boris Johnson plans to take Britain back to the polls in 2020

The favourite to become the UK's next prime minister could take on opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn sooner than expected

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Conservative leadership candidate, Boris Johnson is seen arriving at a Westminster address on July 16, 2019 in London, England. Johnson is currently immersed in controversy over his historical comments made about Muslims. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Conservative leadership candidate, Boris Johnson is seen arriving at a Westminster address on July 16, 2019 in London, England. Johnson is currently immersed in controversy over his historical comments made about Muslims. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson plans on holding a summer general election in 2020 and has started to raise funds in preparation for a contest against opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Johnson is currently the favourite to be Britain’s next prime minister as Theresa May’s premiership comes to an end.

Despite the leadership contest with current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt still ongoing, Mr Johnson plans to take on Labour “while Jeremy Corbyn is still around”, according to senior allies quoted in The Times.

The frontrunner for the Tory leadership attended a £1,000 (Dh4,560)-a-head private dinner in London with Mr Hunt in a bid to boost the Conservative Party war chest ahead of such election, and criticised Ms May for leaving the party in “dire financial straits”.

It is reported that Mr Johnson believes that holding a general election before October 31, the date when Britain is due to leave the European Union, would be “folly”.

Despite comments from senior allies in Mr Johnson’s camp, Britain is not due to hold an election until 2022 and both have so far said publicly they do not aim to hold general elections before then.

He believes that the Labour party is ripe for the taking, dogged by infighting over Brexit and internal claims over antisemitism.

The Conservative Party are concerned that, following a by-election next week, passing new laws through with just a majority of three MPs will prove virtually impossible.

“Jeremy Corbyn being opposition leader is a positive for us. It means we don’t have to spend time doing the groundwork we’ve already done on him on his successor,” said a member of Mr Johnson’s team.

The former foreign secretary renewed fears of a no-deal Brexit, sending the pound to its lowest level in more than two years on Tuesday.

Both he and rival Mr Hunt have rejected the so-called Irish backstop, an insurance policy that ensures no hard border is introduced between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland hugely unpopular with large parts of the ruling Conservative Party.

According to new revelations spilled in The Guardian newspaper by former aides of Mr Johnson, his time as London mayor was of “total, total chaos”, adding that he “upset everyone”.

Former Mayor of London Boris Johnson got stuck on a zip-line during the London 2012 Olympic Games. His record as Mayor is being challenged as he looks to become the next prime minister. Getty Images.
Former Mayor of London Boris Johnson got stuck on a zip-line during the London 2012 Olympic Games. His record as Mayor is being challenged as he looks to become the next prime minister. Getty Images.

“The first year was dreadful. We had some terrible problems,” said one Tory insider. Critics accused Mr Johnson of spending too much money on what were described as vanity projects in London and said he could run the country in much the same way as he did the capital.

Mr Johnson’s legacy as London mayor include a £60 million cable car across a former industrial site in London that receives few visitors, new buses bought for £300m in need of retrofitting because top deck windows did not open, a scheme to build an airport on “Boris island” that had cost £5m in planning but scrapped and a garden bridge proposal that cost £43m in designs, planning and contracts. The bridge was never built.

And while Mr Johnson’s personality has won admirers within his own party, former London Assembly member Jenny Jones is bemused by how Tory members could trust him with the premiership.

“A lot of us like him because he is charming and funny, and good to have a cup of coffee with, but none of us trust him,” she told The Guardian.

“And even people who work for him get very edgy when you say things like that because they mostly agree. He is a charming companion, but you couldn’t trust him to feed your cat if you were away one evening.”

Updated: July 17, 2019 07:09 PM

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