What is 'Long Boris?' How the spectre of Boris Johnson is haunting the Tories

What is 'Long Boris?' How the spectre of Boris Johnson is haunting the Tories
Daily Mail unveils Boris Johnson as new columnist

'Long Boris' is haunting the Tory party.

A year after his resignation, former prime minister Boris Johnson has remained glued to the public, like an unstoppable Just Stop Oil protester, and his presence is ruining the Tory's chance at redeeming their public image and win the next general election.

At least that is what people who use the term think.

Tory MP Steve Brine, who chairs the Commons health and social care committee, argued that the former prime minister would be responsible for the Tories losing his old constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the upcoming by-election this Thursday.

Asked by BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour whether he expected his party to lose the seat, Brine replied: “Yeah – it’s another bit of what I call ‘long Boris’, isn’t it?”

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He said: “We in Winchester [Brine’s seat, where there was a by-election in 1997] have some experience of what happens when you force people to the polls when they don’t otherwise need to be. They usually don’t take too kindly to it. In Selby their MP did huff off because he didn’t get a peerage. I shouldn’t think they think too kindly of that.”

The term is a play on long Covid, wherein some affected by Covid-19 continue to suffer symptoms of the illness weeks and months after the initial infection.

In an article published last year, Chris Patten, chancellor of the University of Oxford, said Johnson had changed the way parliament operated.

Since Brexit, he wrote, "a populist government has gained more power to do what it wants, without much regard for parliamentary accountability".

He argued: "Johnson had no respect for the standards of governance, the integrity of institutions, or the crucial importance of making rational choices between often incompatible public-policy objectives. His legacy of populist mendacity cannot be buried by the naming of a new Conservative Party leader. On the contrary, Long Boris is shaping – and distorting – the election process."

People on social media also use the term to describe what they see as the corruption of the party continuing thanks to the precedents Johnson set.

However it has been pointed out that using the term could be seen as quite tasteless to those who actually suffer from long Covid.

Regardless, with Johnson sticking around it looks like we'll need a term to describe this phenomenon.

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