Ex-PM backed

Boris takes early lead in race for Downing St

Number 10
Could he make a spectacular return? Boris outside Number Ten


Boris Johnson has taken an early lead among Tory MPs to replace Liz Truss as Prime minister following her humiliating resignation after just 44 days in power. 

Tory MPs are declaring their support for a preferred candidate and Mr Johnson is on course for a spectacular return to Downing Street.

He has 62 backers, with main rival Rishi Sunak on 58 and Penny Mordaunt on 20, according to the political website Guido Fawkes. 

The party requires candidates to secure nominations from 100 MPs to get on the ballot. It means that a maximum of three are likely to go forward.

Nominations will close at 2pm on Monday and the final two candidates will go head-to-head in an online vote by party members next Friday when the new leader will be announced. 

Despite Mr Johnson’s early lead, there are doubts whether he will garner enough support to reach the threshold. 

Supporters who are willing to forgive him the misdemeanours that forced him out of office say he has a mandate for government and is the Tories’ best hope of challenging Labour. Some have speculated that as many as 140 out of the 357 Conservative MPs could line up behind him – making him all-but unstoppable.

However, the prospect of Mr Johnson’s return is unlikely to help the Tories’ or unionists’ cause in Scotland where he was deeply unpopular.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack initially appeared on the list backing Boris Johnson but his name was later removed. Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross, opposed him over the Dominic Cummings affair, then backed him in his campaign of support for Ukraine. Andrew Bowie is supporting Rishi Sunak, while John Lamont is behind Penny Mordaunt.

Alister Jack
Alister Jack: support unclear

Opinion polls show the Scottish Tories on course to lose every seat in Scotland and there is concern within the party that if Mr Johnson does return to Downing Street it will seal their fate.

Former Chancellor Mr Sunak is expected to spend the weekend drumming up support. He also divides the party between those who see him as being wrongly denied by Ms Truss and others who will not forgive him for bringing down Mr Johnson.

Miss Mordaunt, the Leader of the Commons, came third in the summer leadership campaign and gave an assured performance at the despatch box on Monday when she stood in for the absent Prime Minister.

However, the former defence secretary previously faced criticism for her ‘woke’ views on trans rights, and was warned against running by colleagues.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and newly-appointed Home Secretary Grant Shapps have ruled themselves out of the race.

Amid calls from opposition leaders for an immediate general election, business leaders have warned that the situation has become untenable and is scaring off investors who are not prepared to put their money into such a feverish and unstable environment.

However, the pound rose slightly ahead of Ms Truss making her announcement and there were signs of greater calm in the markets whose response to the mini-budget prompted the crisis in Downing Street.

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said: “The politics of recent weeks have undermined the confidence of people, businesses, markets and global investors in Britain. That must now come to an end if we are to avoid yet more harm to households and firms. 

Tony Danker
Tony Danker: ‘we need a credible flexible plan

“Stability is key. The next Prime Minister will need to act to restore confidence from day one.  

“They will need to deliver a credible fiscal plan for the medium term as soon as possible, and a plan for the long-term growth of our economy.” 

Ms Truss, who is just 47, will become the seventh living ex-PM to enjoy a payoff of £115,000 annually, alongside her £84,144 MP’s salary. She will also receive a pension and retain a chauffeur-driven car as well round-the-clock protection for life, the costs of which are undisclosed.

She made her resignation statement in Downing Street just six weeks after standing in the same spot after her election.

She said: “Our country has been held back for too long by low economic growth. I was elected by the Conservative party with a mandate to change this. We delivered on energy bills and on cutting national insurance.

“We set out a vision for a low tax, high growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.

“I recognise though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.

“I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.”

3 Comments to Boris takes early lead in race for Downing St

  1. I would like to advise the Tory MPs as well as the entire British Parliament to desist from terminating the appointment of your prime ministers before their tenure expires, particularly in times of crisis.

    This development breeds political and economic upheaval which might not augur well for your country. It also sends a message to your adversaries that you are weak and confused as a country.

    Nobody is perfect. All the MPs who take delight in removing their leaders from office over little matters have their own weaknesses and shortcomings, both in their public and private lives.

    Boris Johnson is a strong, stern and a bold leader who could stand up to the task, but the Tory MPs chose to bring him down over a mere misdemeanour, even when he came out publicly to apologise for his actions. British MP should learn to put the interest of their country first before their own selfish political agenda.

    I love Britain! God bless the king!

    • If we want a serial liar, who has been sacked from just about every job he’s had, we can do no better than Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson himself.
      More Johnson, who resigned in disgrace only a few months ago, after half his government couldn’t take it anymore, will be the gift that keeps on giving.

      Or, rather than persisting with a captain of the Titanic who delights in ramming icebergs, we have a coalition government, based on the national interest to cope with all of the multiple crises hitting us for the foreseeable (which will require only sensible Conservatives, if they can still be found).

      Here’s a sampler of Johnson’s greatest hits.

      Christmas partygate – No 10 partied while the country was on heavily enforced lockdowns
      Wallpapergate – having Tory donors pay for his lifestyle needs
      Brexit spending – where’s that £350 million extra a week for the NHS?
      Misleading the Queen – will he similarly lie to our new King?
      Extramarital affairs – even while his then wife was undergoing cancer treatment
      New hospitals – never happened

      Plus, Russian election interference, stuffing the House of Lords with cronies, covering up sexual assault amongst his Party managers, the list may be endless.
      A final word from his former boss, Max Hastings, the Telegraph editor who hired Mr. Johnson as his Brussels correspondent: “I would not take Boris’s word about whether it is Monday or Tuesday,”.
      In 2019, when Mr. Johnson was poised to become prime minister, Max Hastings wrote an article entitled “I was Boris Johnson’s Boss: He is Utterly Unfit to be Prime Minister.”
      In it, he called Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson a “cavorting charlatan” who suffered from “moral bankruptcy” and exhibited “a contempt for the truth.”

      A gift to Labour and the SNP at the next election.

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