The National:

NADINE Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg are on the warpath to bring back Boris Johnson as prime minister – claiming only he can beat Labour at the next election.

Both have bizarrely been sharing graphs and charts this morning showing the ex-PM would be defeated by Keir Starmer – crucially by smaller margins than his rival Tory leadership candidates.

Research carried out by pollsters Redfield and Wilton shared by the Bring Back Boris Twitter account, shows Starmer outperforming Johnson, breezing past Rishi Sunak and trouncing Penny Mordaunt.

The key is that the Labour leader has a slightly smaller lead on Johnson (43% to 39%). Convincing it is not, but they need something.

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Dorries also boldly claimed that if Sunak were to win, the Partygate scandal could topple him.

That wouldn’t trouble Johnson, obviously, who famously got off Scot-free in the police investigation into Downing Street lawbreaking during the pandemic.

She said with Sunak, the country would be in “General Election territory within weeks” – apparently choosing to ignore the exact same bad smell which hangs around her favourite to win.

She also shared a poll for the Mail on Sunday which showed Johnson losing an election against Starmer (as well as all other leadership contenders and others thrown in for good measure) which some bright spark had captioned “Boris doesn’t lose elections”.

Rees-Mogg for his part shared the Redfield and Wilton graphic – again showing Johnson losing – with the caption “Boris is a winner”.

It is a feat of magical thinking for the Tory faithful that their former boss can, like a last Cincinnatus, return from his beach towel and lead the country back from the brink.

Magical thinking also led outgoing PM Liz Truss to think the markets would back her bonkers plans to borrow wads of cash to hand tax cuts to the richest in society. Remind us how that one went?