The Chief Political commentator issued a severe warning to Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is “waiting in the wings” to slap Mr Johnson down and take the helm of the Conservative Party amid a sleaze crisis surrounding second jobs of MP’s which has sent the Tories falling behind Labour in the polls.
Mr Rentoul suggested how Boris Johnson does not have that many “committed supporters” among Conservative MP’s and that through the sleaze scandal he has managed to annoy an “awful lot” of MP’s.
But he warned: “One of the great advantages the Conservative party has at the moment is that it has a spare Prime Minister waiting in the wings.
“I think the Chancellor will await and see what events have for him.”
But the political commentator was clear that Mr Sunak will not make the same mistakes as figures such as Gordon Brown and David Miliband made. Both were were famous for sitting still and not challenging their respective Prime Ministers, despite calls to do so.
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Instead Mr Rentoul speculated that Rishi Sunak “will make himself available if the party needs him” and suggested SUnak will make the move within “9-months”.
The comments come as Mr Johnson’s former editor at The Telegraph Sir Max Hastings also shared his doubts over the Prime Minister’s future.
Speaking to LBC said Mr Johnson will be replaced as Tory leader “sooner rather than later” and that MP’s must start looking for “someone better to succeed” him.
Sir Max slammed: “I doubt Boris Johnson can change and Rishi Sunak does look the most impressive candidate at the moment.”
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While former Daily Mirror editor and TV personality Piers Morgan speculated Mr Sunak will be Prime Minister “within a year”.
The issue of second jobs was pulled into focus following a row over former North Shropshire Conservative MP Owen Paterson who was found to have been in “egregious” breach of MP standards for his role as a consultant to two companies.
The row saw MP’s vote to tear up the parliamentary standards by which MP’s are expected to abide by and install a majority Conservative standards panel. The government later U-turned on the decision amid a ferocious backlash and accusations of corruption.
But the row deepened last week as Sir Geoffrey Cox, a former Attorney General, was revealed to hold a consultancy law job advising the British Virgin Islands in a corruption case brought forward by the British government.
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The job saw Sir Geoffrey fly to the Caribbean island over lockdown, without informing his constituents, and use the proxy voting system in Westminster to carry out his constituency work while away. He has defended his role and denies any wrongdoing.
Polling figures have collapsed for the Conservatives as a resul, with the latest Savanta ComRes poll suggesting there has been a nine-point swing in favour of the Labour Party in the last week. The survey conducted from November 11-12 of 2,019 UK adults put Labour on 40 percent of the vote, with the Tories trailing on 34 percent.
A week earlier, a Savanta ComRes poll conducted on November 5-11 had the Tories leading on 38 percent and Labour on 35 percent. A separate survey carried out by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on Wednesday put Labour two points ahead of the Conservatives.
A YouGov poll published on Friday put the Conservatives and Labour level on 35 percent.