Boris Johnson expected to skip Conservative Party conference

Boris Johnson is reportedly set to skip the Conservative Party conference in October, after he leaves Downing Street.

The Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson, traditionally the star of the party gathering, will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors David Cameron and Theresa May, if he does decide to avoid the conference in Birmingham.

It comes as his allies did not rule out a future tilt at No 10 over the weekend, as the Prime Minister entered his final hours in office.

Mr Johnson, who will be replaced as Conservative leader on Monday and step down as prime minister the following day, leaves power with his closest allies not ruling out a future bid for the highest office.

Former chief of staff and close aide Lord Udny-Lister said that Mr Johnson will be “very sad” as he travels to Balmoral to formally offer his resignation to the Queen.

But he also told Sky News that he would “never say never” about a return for Mr Johnson.

“He is going to be watching all this and if something happens in the future, as you said, the ball comes loose in the scrum, then anything can happen.

“I’m not going to predict. All I’m saying is, I would never write him off.”

As colourful as he is controversial, Mr Johnson is likely to have plenty of lucrative opportunities to hand over the coming weeks and months.

Newspaper reports have been full of speculation about whether the former Telegraph columnist will return to journalism, or if the former boss at The Spectator magazine might even be offered an editorship somewhere.

There is also the possibility of the lucrative after-dinner speaking circuit, a well-worn route for former prime ministers.

Lord Marland, a former trade envoy, told the BBC last week that Mr Johnson wants to “go and put hay in the loft” after he leaves office.

“As he said to me the other day, he wants to go and put hay in the loft, in other words to build up his bank balance so that he can afford to pay for the lifestyle that he has created,” he said.

Conservative leadership bid
The Queen welcomes Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace (Victoria Jones/PA)

Much depends on whether Mr Johnson sees his future in the Commons.

He is far from certain to stave off a Labour challenge in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency at the next election, while the Privileges Committee is going ahead with its inquiry into whether he committed a contempt of Parliament by telling the House on several occasions that there were no lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.

If he is found to have lied to Parliament, Mr Johnson could face a suspension from the Commons for 10 or more sitting days and a recall petition, which, if signed by 10% of his constituents, would trigger a by-election.

Whether to fight to remain in politics or not will depend on whether Mr Johnson still harbours ambitions to return to No 10.

In his final appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions, he famously declared “Hasta la vista, baby.”

The Spanish term translates as “see you later”, but it is also a catchphrase of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg character in the 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The Terminator is also known for the catchphrase: “I’ll be back.”

His old political enemies think similarly.

Rory Stewart, who ran against Mr Johnson for the Tory leadership in 2019, likened him to former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and ex-US president Donald Trump, who are plotting comebacks.

The former international development minister said last month: “I’m afraid he has an extraordinary ego and he believes that he was badly treated.

“He doesn’t see the reality, which is that he was a terrible prime minister and that he lost his job because of deep flaws of character.

“And yes, I fear we’re going to end up with a second Berlusconi or a second Trump trying to rock back in again.”