Scandal-scarred former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was racing home from vacation Friday — as he became the unexpected odds-on favorite to return as leader just weeks after quitting in disgrace.
“He’s on a plane, as I understand it,” Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson, told “Good Morning Britain” Friday.
“He is coming back,” the 82-year-old dad confirmed of rumors that his son was racing home from his sunshine vacation in the Dominican Republic amid the rush leadership battle.
Johnson, 58, had only left his office at 10 Downing Street last month, having been forced to announce his resignation in July after a series of scandals, most notably getting fined by cops for defying his own strict COVID lockdown rules to throw a series of parties.
But he always teased a return to power, signing off his farewell speech to Parliament with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous “Terminator” line: “Hasta la vista, baby.”
He also compared himself to Cincinnatus, the Roman dictator who relinquished power — then returned as leader.
Insiders and bookmakers now believe his sign-off could come true sooner than ever expected after his successor, Liz Truss, quit on Thursday after just 44 days in office, the shortest in UK history.
“BIG NEWS developing … Boris Johnson is now the odds-on FAVORITE to become the next Prime Minister, “online bookmakers Betfair tweeted Friday lunchtime.
Ladbrokes had him almost neck-and-neck with the other main contender, Johnson’s former finance minister Rishi Sunak who came second to Truss in the last contest.
Despite his scandalous exit, Johnson started receiving a flood of support from UK politicians — including from Ben Wallace, one of the cabinet ministers first tipped as a likely co-contender.
Formally withdrawing his name as a potential candidate, the defense minister told the Independent that he was “leaning towards” Johnson because he felt he was the best choice to “win the next election” for the Conservatives.
Another cabinet minister, Simon Clarke, also supported Johnson’s return, saying that his comeback will be “greater than the setback.” Business minister Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted his support, using the hashtag “#Borisorbust”.
Conservative lawmaker Paul Bristow told LBC radio that party members know BoJo “can turn it around again … Boris Johnson can win the next general election.”
Johnson’s dad — a Conservative Party member with a vote in the leadership selection — was not so firm, however.
“I’m going to listen to what the candidates have to say,” Stanley Johnson told “Good Morning Britain.”
“I will listen to all of them and I will say, ‘OK, I think I’m going to support Boris — I’m pretty sure I’m going to support Boris … but I want to be sure,” he said.
He insisted it was “perfectly reasonable” for his son to want to return to power and deal with the “unfinished business” of his 2019 manifesto.
Many others disagreed, with The Financial Times saying a comeback would be “farcical”.
“If the answer is Boris Johnson, you haven’t understood the question,” former Home Secretary Ken Clarke tweeted.
Presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer asked if those supporting Johnson had “lost your minds.”
“Have you all forgotten why Boris Johnson had to go? He locked us in our homes and bankrupted the economy while he and his staff partied away in No10 because they thought laws didn’t apply to them.
“Shameless and shameful. He must never be PM again,” she insisted.
Opposition MP Lilian Greenwood also stressed that as well as Partygate, “Johnson was forced to resign after turning a blind eye to allegations of sexual assault, promoting an alleged sexual predator to a position of power and responsibility and then lying about it.
“How can any Tory MP suggest putting him back in Number 10?”
Actor Stephen Fry, meanwhile, subtly tweeted: “No @BorisJohnson no no no no no NO! Under absolutely no circumstances. Ever. Ever ever ever, d’you hear?”