Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been backed by six Cabinet ministers to become the next Conservative Party leader following Liz Truss’ resignation on Thursday, October 20. This morning, Mr Johnson is believed to have landed at London Gatwick airport after flying back early from his family holiday in the Dominican Republic to formally begin his campaign to be the new Prime Minister. Before take-off, he reportedly told friends “I’m up for it” and has since become a front-runner in the contest.
He has already received the backing of roughly 60 MPs to make a comeback as Tory leader and British Prime Minister just three months after he was ousted from office by his own Party.
The six cabinet ministers are Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke, Cop26 president Alok Sharma and Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Mr Heaton-Harris told the Daily Mail that Mr Johnson was the “standout star” to replace Ms Truss and make a return to Number 10 just six weeks after he left office.
He added: “There is no politician more able to rise up to whatever challenge he faces. I know Boris will finish the job he started and deliver on the promises he made to you in 2019.
“At a time of economic and international uncertainty, we need a leader with a track record of delivering for the British people. A leader who has the mandate of not only the Conservative Party membership, but also the country. A leader Labour fear the most because of his ability to win.”
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Mr Rees-Mogg believes his return would help to calm the financial markets following the pound crashing to a 35-year-low against the US dollar following former Chancellor Kwasi KWarteng’s mini-budget last month.
He told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast: “I think he is the only realistic prospect who can unite the party and has a well-shown election-winning record.”
He added: “Boris Johnson clearly has a mandate now constitutionally. A lot of people are now clamouring for a new general election because they say the person who won the election is no longer in charge.
“Boris Johnson won that mandate. He won it from the British people. He won it for five years. I think it would be only right to bring back the person who has a mandate, and govern well for the next two years. That is the challenge for the Conservative Party.”
Mr Rees-Mogg also tweeted on Friday, saying “I’m backing Boris” alongside a “Boris or bust” logo.
It appears there are three candidates with a chance of becoming Ms Truss’ successor. Candidates must secure the backing of 100 MPs by 2pm on Monday, October 24, to make it onto the ballot paper.
Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt was the first candidate to declare candidacy and has the support of 22 MPs.
Leading the way is former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who finished as runner-up to Ms Truss just six weeks ago. Mr Sunak has reportedly reached the threshold of 100 public supporters despite not formally declaring his campaign.
If all three reach the threshold then Tory MPs will vote to determine the final two facing off in an online ballot of party members. The winner will be declared on Friday, October 28.