Boris Johnson, former Major of London and the de facto leader of the campaign to leave the European Union has just announced that he will not be running in the race to replace David Cameron as the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.

His decision has shocked party members and voters alike many who believed that part of his motivation in adopting the opposing stance to David Cameron on membership of the EU was to position himself to take over the top job if the referendum resulted in a vote to Brexit.

It is maybe too early to begin to make sense of his move but psychology can offer some initial hypotheses. For months Boris Johnson has push himself forward supported by Michael Gove and his supporters with predictions and promises for a Britain independent from the EU. Although previously a strong voice in the Tory party with a prominent national role, this pushed Boris into a completely different political ball game and possibly out of his comfort zone. The reality that Boris faced when the country voted to leave the EU may not have been one that he was fully ready for and this coupled with the loss of support from a senior and powerful figure within the party will have left Boris feeling isolated and exposed and facing a fight for the leadership that he did not feel equipped for or ready to lose. It is possible that his fight or flight response was triggered and Boris, in the face of danger, chose to run.

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  1. Dear Dr Gray,
    I am sorry, but I can’t agree. Your analysis takes no account of how the Political mind works. Or how Parliament works.
    This is a poison chalice, and Boris would always find it hard to get the whole of the Party behind him. In the current climate having a divisive leader was never a starter.
    Not so much fight or flight as live to fight another day. I will lay you odds!!
    Kind regards,

  2. I agree with Lynda. A very ignorant article. You only have to look at Boris’s record to know he has never lacked courage, aas Lynda says you have no idea how politics works.

    Theresa May was the Establishment choice she has no mandate. The Establishment was threatened by Boris Johnson’s fight for our democracy, British law and the rights of ordinary people to challenge our lawmakers.

    EU Law, which makes a slave of the British people, suits the Establishment down to the ground. All politicians are ambitious, but Boris genuinely beliebes in the value of democracy – he is a Classical scholar. Your attempt to dismiss his genuine believe in British law and democracy does you no credit.

    There is a concerted effort right now to smear him and finish him off by lying about his motives, when we should be thanking him for restoring the British identity, which includes diversity. He will live to fight another day.

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