Will Walden briefly worked as Johnson’s director of communications in the run-up to his appointment as prime minister back in the summer of 2019, and was discussing the outgoing Tory leader’s future on Monday.
Walden told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that “truthfully, not many” in the Conservative Party want to see Johnson come back.
He claimed it was just a small group of “very, very loyal Boris acolytes”, after several polls over the last few weeks found a strong body of Tory Party members wanted Johnson to stay.
“They think he’s been very hard done by and I think Boris will play up to that in terms of his legacy. He has a unique opportunity to do that as a columnist, as a backbencher MP, to cement the fact that they made the wrong decision.”
But, Walden added: “It’s unprecedented for nearly 60 ministers to resign from any government, let alone this government.
“He had narrowly survived a vote of confidence in the weeks before. If there hadn’t been those resignations, they would have booted him out anyway.
″So yes, there are those who want him back, but I think he would have to – you know, the Tories have been in power now for 12 years – so I think it would have to be a pretty strange set of circumstances which saw Boris Johnson return.”
Johnson reluctantly announced he would be stepping down as prime minister in July, but – strangely – did not actually say the words that he was resigning.
He also refused to let someone else take over as interim prime minister, insisting that he should remain in Downing Street until his replacement was confirmed.
This all sparked speculation that Johnson could be planning a comeback.
But, Walden told LBC, that “probably deep deep down if he searched through his soul, he’d know that is true,” he can’t come back.
“What you’ve got now is essentially a period where he will try to rewrite the narrative.
“He did that with his resignation speech.”
He also guessed Johnson would employ the same tactics during his final speech tomorrow – “forward gear, no apology” and a tone which suggests: “They’ve done this to me, I could still win.”
Walden continued: “I think the idea that he’s coming back, which he has lent tacit support to, is very very deliberate, it’s about rewriting the historical narrative and setting his own narrative in going forward.”
He said Johnson also had the upper hand with this because he’s not in charge during the cost of living crisis.
Walden claimed the outgoing PM would be able to say he was the “electoral asset” if the crisis worsens, and he was the one who would have helped.
However, Walden such a narrative would not work, explaining: “I think all that ignores the central fact that MPs will support you so long as you have the support of the general public.”
He pointed to the Conservatives’ two by-elections losses, the Chris Pincher scandal and Johnson’s plummeting position in the polls over the last six months of his premiership to justify why he thinks “there’s no coming back for Boris”.
He also said that he expected Johnson to “disappear off to earn a lot of money”.
“In spite of Covid, when you don’t do anything with an 80-seat majority, and truthfully, he’s not been able to do so and hasn’t done, I think it’s unlikely they will reach back to him.”
However, former Conservative minister and Johnson critic, Rory Stewart, warned last week that Johnson could try to make a Donald Trump-style comeback – a view echoed by Johnson ally Lord Lister.
Johnson has not backed either candidate publicly, but allegedly spent the weekend trying to re-unite the Conservative Party after a particularly vicious leadership race.