BORIS Johnson is telling Downing Street staff that he will be prime minister again “within a year”, according to reports.

The news comes amid a concerted effort from Johnson loyalists to keep the law-breaking leader in post, despite his public resignation.

The outgoing prime minister was forced to announce he will step down after more than fifty resignations from his government in the space of just two days.

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Former chancellor Rishi Sunak – one of the first MPs to resign – and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are the final two contenders in the race to replace Johnson in No 10.

However, Peter Cruddas, the multi-millionaire who Johnson handed a life peerage despite advice to the contrary from the Lords Appointments Commission, has led a campaign to have Johnson remain in place.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Cruddas (below) said Johnson’s removal “by a minority of MPs [was] deeply undemocratic”.

Boris Johnson hinted at plans to return during his final speech at PMQs. Photo: PA

He pointed to a petition of Tory members he had started, which has thousands of signatures, saying that the party should reject Johnson’s resignation and allow him to remain in post.

One Cabinet minister told The Telegraph they were supportive of the petition, claiming “grassroots members feel their voices have been cancelled out by a minority in the Parliamentary party”.

Cruddas wrote: “I don't want to see the PM as a candidate in the race to be the next party leader. I want the membership to vote on whether we accept his resignation in the first place. If we don't – and I strongly expect that to be the case – it will be revoked and Boris will continue in No 10.

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“It's what the country demanded. by a colossal margin, at the General Election in 2019.”

Initially resisting calls to resign, Johnson had attempted to claim that the Conservative Party’s victory at the previous Westminster election was a personal mandate.

This is a misrepresentation of the UK’s electoral system. A prime minister does not win a personal mandate at a General Election, but is handed the right to lead by having the support of a majority of MPs, something Johnson had lost.

Despite his downfall, the outgoing prime minister has insisted he will lead the UK once again, according to ConservativeHome founder Tim Montgomerie.

The Tory pundit wrote on Twitter: “Boris is telling aides that he’ll be PM again within a year.”

The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope described the post as “well-sourced”.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant, a Johnson loyalist, has publicly supported the “Bring Back Boris” campaign, telling The Telegraph: “MPs have clearly misread the mood of the party membership on this and so many other matters.

“If I thought Boris were keen – despite the treachery of his ministers – to carry on, I would support Peter Cruddas’s campaign in the blink of an eye.”

In Johnson’s final speech at PMQs on Wednesday, he ended with the phrase: “hasta la vista, baby”.

Made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Terminator 2, the Spanish phrase literally means “until the view” and colloquially means “until next time”.

Cruddas’s peerage faced a legal challenge after it emerged that he donated £500,000 to the Tories just three days after taking his seat in the Lords. The former Conservative treasurer had previously donated around £3 million to the party since 2010.