The former Prime Minister is limbering up for a return to Number 10, loyalist Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed (Picture: Facebook/PA)
Jacob Rees-Mogg says Boris Johnson is going to enter the battle to become prime minister.
The Business Secretary, an arch Johnson loyalist, told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: ‘I have been speaking to Boris Johnson, and clearly he’s going to stand, there’s a great deal of support for him’.
There has been speculation about whether the former PM will have enough support to make the final ballot, with allies of rival Rishi Sunak rubbishing claims he had already got the backing of the necessary 100 MPs.
The pair met last night, but it is unclear what they discussed.
This morning, Sunak officially joined Penny Mordaunt in entering the race – which Johnson is yet to do.
Many observers believe Johnson would beat Sunak if the contest goes to Tory party members, who polls suggest favour their old leader.
Many Tories do not share Rees-Mogg’s stance, with some even suggesting that they would stand down and force by-elections were Johnson to win a second stint as PM.
Former cabinet colleague Dominic Raab, who is backing Sunak, said he was not expecting a deal between the two rivals.
Raab went on to highlight the ‘range’ of support Sunak has among Tory MPs, before adding: ‘I’d love to see Boris Johnson come back to frontline politics…
‘But we have this major issue which led to him having to resign, which is partygate, and in a matter of days, not weeks, he’s going to see televised witness testimony, including his own, which is going to take him right back into that spiral.’
Tories are uneasy about the prospect of Johnson’s premiership imploding yet again on the back of allegations that he misled Parliament over breaking Covid restrictions.
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That affair saw him become the first PM in office to be found to have broken the law.
A natural Rees-Mogg ally, Steve Baker, said this morning that bringing back Johnson was a ‘guaranteed disaster’.
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer, meanwhile, again called for a general election and branded Tory infighting a ‘ridiculous, chaotic circus’.
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‘I have been speaking to Boris Johnson, and clearly he’s going to stand, there’s a great deal of support for him’.