Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

Boris to give ‘unusual’ speech at World Economic Forum

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The former Prime Minister is expected to speak at the Ukraine breakfast with President Zelensky’s wife Olena. Despite being forced out of office by Tory MPs over Partygate allegations, Mr Johnson is still regarded as a hero in Ukraine for leading the international effort to support their resistance to the Russian invasion.

The international event is also being attended by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who is maneouvering to prepare for an expected election victory in 2024.

But Mr Johnson’s successor as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have decided not to rub shoulders with the world’s richest and most powerful people.

In recent years the power of the centrist World Economic Forum has been questioned especially with former alumni of its young leaders’ programmes ending up in high office.

These include Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Ireland’s Leo Varadker and New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden.

Mr Johnson’s expected appearance in Davos in the absence of Mr Sunak is being seen as yet another part of his reported comeback.

There have been rumours that supporters of Mr Johnson will try to bring him back as Prime Minister in May if Mr Sunak suffers bad local election results.

A dinner last week at the Carlton Club, with strong historic links to the Conservative Party, where Mr Johnson unveiled a portrait of himself was seen as the first potential step in a comeback to power.

However, the event was not attended by many of Mr Johnson’s allies or any other MPs other than close friend and lieutenant Nigel Adams.

A source said: “Boris is definitely in Davos and he is due to speak tomorrow at the Ukraine breakfast.

“Unusually for Boris it is a little under the radar and he has not made a fuss about it.

“But it is noticeable that he is mixing with the world’s most powerful people and appearing on a stage where he still has much credibility in terms of the defence of Ukraine yet Rishi is not there.”

Mr Sunak had also planned not to attend COP27 climate change conference in Egypt last year but changed his mind at the last minute when it emerged Mr Johnson was going.

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