Boris Johnson is seriously considering a return to frontline politics following growing calls for him to give the Tories a campaign poll boost.
The former prime minister is mulling what role he can play in the future after Rishi Sunak opened the door to a comeback.
Andrew Griffith became the first member of the government to support a comeback, saying “Boris is a great voice”.
And another Tory MP insisted Mr Johnson would “win us the next election” if he hit the campaign trail.
Mr Johnson issued a direct message to Daily Express readers when he left Parliament last year, promising: “I’ll be back.”
Boris Johnson mulls pleas to help Tories fight election
His spokesman today “ruled nothing in or out” about what role he could play in the future.
Science Minister Mr Griffith, a former parliamentary aide to Mr Johnson, praised the ex-PM’s ability to connect with voters.
“The Conservative government needs strong Conservative voices,” he told LBC.
“We’ve got a brilliant one in the Prime Minister but politics is a team game.
“My background was in business and you only get results by working together as a team.
“We have got some real jeopardy at the moment. There is a party, you have seen their U-turns in the last 24 hours, that builds on many other U-turns.
“The simple truth is they don’t have a plan, that could cost the economy dear.
“Boris is a great voice. I hope we’ve got many great voices.
“And we desperately need to get the message out that it is not a good time to go back to square one.
“So come back anybody who’s got a strong voice who can call out the danger of Keir Starmer.”
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Great Grimsby MP Lia Nici says Boris Johnson would help Tories win the election
Conservative MP Lia Nici said Mr Johnson is a “team player” but an agreement would have to be reached for a comeback.
She said the former PM remains popular in red wall seats, including her constituency of Great Grimsby.
Ms Nici added: “People voted for the Conservatives because they supported Boris’s vision.
“Boris is absolutely popular (in the red wall) and he would win us the next election and more than help us over the line.
“But there is a lot of work to do before we get to that point.”
The comments come on the back of support from senior Tories Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sir Michael Fabricant and Paul Bristow.
Rishi Sunak has not ruled out bringing Boris Johnson back onto the political frontline
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Earlier this week, Mr Sunak revealed he is in occasional contact with Mr Johnson.
Relations between the pair broke down after the then Chancellor quit in July 2022, triggering a wave of ministerial resignations that led to Mr Johnson’s downfall.
By the time the ex-PM was forced out of parliament following the “witch hunt” investigation into his actions following so-called Partygate, the two men were taking public swipes at each other.
But in a new ITV documentary, Mr Sunak refused to rule out bringing him back into the fold.
He said: “I’m proud of the work that we did together. And we worked well together for a long time. In the end there are, you know, well-documented differences…”
Pressed again, he added: “Well, I never talk about these personal things, but look, I, you know, I speak to him on occasion.”
David Campbell Bannerman, the Chairman of the grassroots Conservative Democratic Organisation, insisted Mr Johnson would be a “huge asset” if he returned to the Cabinet.
He told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine: “It would be good for the Conservatives, it would be good for Rishi, if he does comeback.
“He’s very popular in the red wall, he created the red wall.
“I think he would be a huge asset. But he’s not an MP so there are some practical issues.
“Do you bring him back as a Lord? Do you put him back on the list (of parliamentary candidates)? He’s not even on the list at the moment.
“So there are some challenges in getting him back.”
He added: “He’s an election winner, which is why Sunak wants him back, or mention him, because he wants a bit of that stardust.”
Mr Sunak brought David Cameron back from the political wilderness by giving him a peerage so he could make him Foreign Secretary.
Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe, who is now a member of Reform, said “Boris would be a much better bet than David Cameron”.
But she said “whatever he does is going to make much difference now to Conservative chances” at the next election.
The Conservatives have languished around 20 points behind Labour in polls over the last year.
Mr Sunak has said his “working assumption” is that he will call a general election in the second half of the year.
Party chairman Richard Holden insisted “polls move around” but admitted there is a “long way to go”.
“As we always say, the only poll that matters is on election day,” he told ITV News.
“I think there’s a long way to go. I think it’s true that, after the difficult few years we’ve had, the Conservative party really need to bring forwards clear policies for the future, which can not only reflect some of the good things that we’ve done, but also reflect the aspirations of people now for the future as well. And I think we’ll be doing that over the coming months.”
Mr Holden said recent splits in the party over the Rwanda deportation plan was “frustrating”.
“All colleagues want the same outcomes – we want to see immigration control, we want the taxes to be cut for working people, we want to see economic growth for everybody in the country.
“The truth is there will always be slight disagreements about how to get there.
“I think it’s always important for all colleagues to remember what unites us, which are those fundamental things.”