Boris Johnson eyes comeback bid as UK Tories pick new leader

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. [AP]

Several British lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, were trying to scoop up support on Friday ahead of a short, intense contest to replace Liz Truss as the nation's leader.

Truss quit on Thursday after a turbulent 45-day term, conceding that she could not deliver on her tax-cutting economic plans.

The Conservative Party is holding a speeded-up race to replace her, which will see a new leader - who will also become prime minister - chosen within a week.

Former Treasury Chief Rishi Sunak and House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt are among the bookmakers' favorites - along with Johnson, who was forced to resign by the party just over three months ago after becoming mired in scandals over his ethics and finances. His return would be a remarkable resurrection for a politician who is popular and polarizing in equal measure.

Johnson, who remained a lawmaker after stepping down as prime minister, has not said whether he will run, but his allies in Parliament are working to gather support.

Nominations for a new leader will close on Monday afternoon, and candidates need the signatures of 100 of the 357 Conservative lawmakers, meaning a maximum field of three. Lawmakers will vote to knock out one of those, and will hold an indicative vote on the final two. The party's 172,000 members will then get to decide between the two finalists in an online vote. The new leader is due to be selected by Oct. 28.