Boris Johnson may have given up on the suitors to be the next Prime Minister, but there will undoubtedly be questions about what the ex-resident Number 10 will do next.

The 58-year-old had the chance to emulate his political hero Winston Churchill and return from the wilderness just seven weeks after leaving Downing Street.

It was already rumored that he believed he might return, and his final speech in No. 10 seemed to hint at the same with his reference to Cincinnatus being recalled from his farm to save ancient Rome from crisis.

But Mr Johnson was forced to admit late on Sunday that he could not unite his warring party, seemingly conceding the Tory leadership race to his former chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Even if he gets enough support from Tory MPs, Mr Sunak may struggle to shake off Mr Johnson’s ghost.

The blond, charismatic former Conservative leader said on Sunday he thought he was “well placed” to lead the Tories to victory at the next general election.

“I believe I have a good chance of winning the Conservatives in 2024 – and tonight I can confirm that I have broken the very high barrier of 102 nominations, including a candidate and a second, and I could nominate tomorrow.” , Johnson said in a statement.

I believe I have something to offer, but I’m afraid it’s just not the right timeBoris Johnson

“There is a very good chance that I will be successful in the election with members of the Conservative Party – and that I may indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday.”

He concluded his statement by saying, “I believe I have something to offer, but I’m afraid it’s just not the right time.”

Such confidence could lead Mr. Sunac to create some distance between his ambitious former boss and the capital, perhaps by arranging for a suitable ambassadorship.

Mr Sunak appeared to signal this by telling Mr Johnson on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “Although he has decided not to run again for Prime Minister, I sincerely hope he will continue to contribute to public life in country and abroad”.

It’s close

Rishi Sunak is now the favorite to be the next prime minister (Belinda Jiao / PA)

Tory MP Steve Breen, who supports Sunak, did not rule out the possibility of Mr Johnson taking the ambassadorship, telling the same program “yes, maybe” when asked about it.

The MP for Winchester added: “Rishi will not repeat the mistake of two (former and current) Prime Ministers and double down and appoint only his friends and those who supported him. I’m sure it will be everywhere.”

Mr Johnson has extensive overseas experience, having been Foreign Secretary under Theresa May from July 2016 to June 2018.

He was also born in New York and grew up for a time in the 1970s in Brussels, where he returned as a correspondent for The Daily Telegraph from 1989 to 1994 and became a favorite of Eurosceptics, including then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

A possible departure from politics is also possible for the backbencher, who was haunted by a scandal throughout his career.

He recently faced the Owen Patterson case, then the Partygate revelations that saw him become the first prime minister to be criminally prosecuted while in office, before finally the Chris Pincher scandal led to an avalanche of ministerial resignations and his leaving Downing Street.

The House of Commons Privileges Committee is still under investigation into whether he misled the House during Partygate and could at any time recommend that he be suspended from Parliament over it.

A return to the media, where he first made a name for himself as a conservative voice before moving to the editors of The Spectator, could prove tempting for a man whose career continues to climb despite many challenges.