Ex-U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is returning to London from holiday in Punta Cana, just as shocked apparently as the rest of the world by the rapid meltdown of Liz Truss’s tenure at 10 Downing Street. He wasn’t even on the Continent.
Travel is expensive, and flights are full. So it shouldn’t be surprising that he isn’t flying business:
The return from Elba.
Boris Johnson is on BA 2156 from Punta Cana to London-Gatwick via Antigua. https://t.co/ULAEwPVHVg
— Dennis Lennox (@dennislennox) October 21, 2022
BA operates one-stop service from Punta Cana to London Gatwick twice-weekly at this point. Availability for this coming Monday’s flight is wide open. But next Friday is nearly sold out. Business class and premium economy are booked solid, while British Airways is willing to sell up to 5 more seats in coach.
Rather than being unable to secure business, though, it appears there were open seats in the cabin. So he either wasn’t willing to pay for it – or felt the optics would be better. He does appear to be surprisingly dapper in a suit for an overnight flight departing from the Caribbean.
But are the Tories – and the British public – ready to welcome him back? Betting markets say no, but that the race is hardly a lock.
Johnson was reportedly booed when he boarded the flight. But he’s been lobbying hard from his perch in Punta Cana and there are Members of Parliament who called for his resignation over the summer who now support his return, even though a pending investigation could lead to his suspension from parliament – though if he were the Prime Minister it’s likely his own party’s Privileges Committee wouldn’t recommend this, and his party wouldn’t vote for it in parliament.
Sky News reporter Mark Stone, who is on the flight with Boris Johnson back from the Dominican Republic to Gatwick, said that Johnson was booed by passengers as he boarded.
— Harry Taylor (@HarryTaylr) October 21, 2022
BREAKING: Boris Johnson has been calling MPs from his sun lounger in the Caribbean to reassure them he is a changed man and will work really hard this time x
— Laura Kuenssberg Translator (@LKTranslator) October 21, 2022
Things are clearly rough for the conservatives in Britain when there’s a non-zero chance they’ll bring Boris Johnson back. He was a disaster both personally and on policy. But the Tory party is very likely to lose should they call an election. Truss’ prescription at the broadest level was right – the need to address anemic economic growth – but her policies of unfunded tax cuts and energy subsidies in the face of inflation were not. So Boris Johnson comes racing back on BA in a suit.