British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to stay in power until the mid-1930s

KIGALI: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (June 25) he wants to remain in power until the middle of the next decade, despite calls to step down, which would make him the country’s longest-serving leader in 200 years .

Earlier this month, Johnson survived a confidence vote by Conservative lawmakers in which 41 percent of his parliamentary colleagues voted for him, and he is under investigation for deliberately misleading parliament.

On Friday, Conservative candidates lost two parliamentary by-elections to replace former Conservative leaders who had to resign, one after being convicted of sexual assault and the other for watching pornography in the House of Commons.

The defeats in the midterm elections suggest the broad voter pull that helped Johnson win a large parliamentary majority in December 2019 could break after a scandal over illegal parties held in Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdowns.

Under Conservative Party rules, lawmakers can’t formally challenge Johnson for another year, but overwhelming discontent or dismissal by a string of senior ministers could make his position untenable.

Britain is also in the midst of its deepest cost of living crisis in decades, with inflation at its highest point in 40 years.

Former party leader Michael Howard said on Friday it was now time for Johnson to leave, and Conservative party chairman Oliver Dowden stepped down after the midterm election losses.

However, Johnson said he wanted to run for a third term and remain prime minister until the mid-1930s to give him time to narrow regional economic disparities and make changes to Britain’s legal and immigration systems.

“Right now I’m actively thinking about the third term and, you know, what could happen then. But I’ll review it when I’m ready,” Johnson told reporters in Rwanda on the last day of a visit to a Commonwealth summit.

Asked what he meant, Johnson said, “On the third term…this is the mid-30s.”

Johnson must call Britain’s next national election by December 2024 and need a third election victory by 2029.

If he were still in office after early 2031, he would beat Margaret Thatcher’s record as the longest-serving British Prime Minister since Robert Banks Jenkinson, the Earl of Liverpool, who was in office from 1812 to 1827.

NO CHALLENGE, NO CHANGE?

Johnson told reporters he didn’t expect to face another internal challenge from his party, and blames the midterm election defeats in part on months of media coverage of closed parties at the heart of the government.

“People were tired of hearing about stuff I’d stuffed, or allegedly stuffed, or whatever, this endless — totally legit, but endless — uproar of news,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Johnson told BBC radio that he rejected the idea that he should change his behaviour.

“If you say you want me to undergo some sort of psychological transformation, I think our listeners know that… that’s not going to happen.”

Johnson declined to comment on a report in The Times that he planned to get a donor to fund a £150,000 ($184,000) treehouse for his son at his state-provided country retreat.

The story comes months after his party was fined for failing to accurately report a donation that helped fund the renovation of his Downing Street apartment.

“I’m not going to comment on non-existent objects,” Johnson said when asked if he planned to use a donor’s money to build the treehouse.