Boris Johnson MP has been all over the media yet again in recent days, because of his private life as well as his political views. The latest scandal is about the Uxbridge MP using a suicide vest in an analogy about Theresa May’s Brexit “chequers plan”. We all know that Boris Johnson is using his column in the Daily Telegraph to cause controversy and to stir up debate about fundamentally moral and cultural topics. Obviously, his comments also divide opinion within the Conservative Party. Regardless of his ambitions, is Boris Johnson actually helping his party or is he leading the party down an unelectable path.
As a leading Brexiteer, millions of people follow and listen to Boris Johnson’s comments and beliefs. We can all remember his incredible speech in the BBC Wembley Brexit debate speech which received a standing ovation. Boris Johnson knows that he has the power to influence and drive the political debate in any direction he wants. It appears that Boris is unsackable because of this very reason, and therefore he can get away with outrageous remarks because both he and the party knows they can’t discipline him for fear of a grassroots backlash.
However, despite the former Foreign Secretary’s unbelievable power and influence, his divisive comments could very possibly backfire. As a Brexiteer, he is inevitably going to be disliked by nearly all remainers among the public but also, and perhaps more importantly, a lot of members within his own party. Following his recent remarks about the Chequers plan, it has been revealed that up to 12 Conservative MP’s have said that they would leave the Conservative Party if Boris were to become leader.
Furthermore, his comments have seen public criticism from fellow Conservative MP’s. Sir Alan Duncan-Smith MP called his comments “disgusting” and a former Conservative MP said his comments were “one of the darkest things heard in the modern British political era”. It isn’t difficult to see that Boris is clearly preparing for a leadership contest. When Anna Soubry MP, a staunch Tory remainer, was asked to comment on his views, she said “Boris has been campaigning for party leader for the last 18 months”.
Nevertheless, a possible advantage of allowing Boris to make such controversial remarks is that he will attract and collectivise the right-wing vote. Jeremy Corbyn has done exactly the same on the left-wing spectrum, and this is why we see that the centre-left Liberal Democrats have failed to significantly increase their polling figures. Theresa May’s Brexit plan is failing, and it is clear that the Brexiteer-voting public think so too; as UKIP’s poll ratings have doubled in the last 3 months.
Boris Johnson MP will always be a prominent figure in British politics. However, it is now make or break time for Boris. If he does not lead the Conservative Party into the 2022 General Election, then he will never be leader of the party. The question as to whether Boris is saving or sinking the party is simply too complex to answer with a basic reply. Only time will tell whether he has helped or hindered the Conservative Party!