Three cabinet members have backed Boris to succeed Liz Truss as he looks set to make a comeback (Picture: Rex / PA / Getty)
Although Johnson has not yet officially entered the race for the Conservative Party leadership, he is known to be considering a run and has reportedly claimed that doing so would be in the ‘national interest’.
Jacob Rees-Mogg became the first to declare his support for the former PM today, with the Business Minister and staunch Johnson loyalist tweeting a graphic which said ‘I’m Backing Boris’ alongside the hashtag ‘£BORISorBUST’.
He was soon joined by Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke, who alongside Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen told the Telegraph: ‘Boris is the person we need to lead our country and our party.’
Sharing the article on Twitter, he added: ‘Teesside has had difficult times and is now levelling up because of @borisjohnson.
‘Tees Valley Mayor @benhouchen and I know that for us, like Boris, the comeback will be greater than the setback.’
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has since become the third minister to throw his weight behind Johnson after ruling himself out of a leadership bid earlier today.
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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he was ‘leaning towards Boris’ after ruling himself out of a leadership bid
Jacob Rees-Mogg was the first to annouce his support for Johnson this morning, tweeting a picture which read ‘Boris or Bust’ (Picture: Shutterstock)
Leveling Up Secreatary Simon Clarke declared his support for Boris alongside Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen (Picture: Getty)
Mr Wallace, a highly respected figure amongst party members, told broadcasters: ‘This will be potentially our third prime minister since the general election of 2019 – that means we have to think about that legitimacy question that the public will be asking themselves, and also about who could win the next election – that’s obviously important for any political party at the time.’
Mr Wallace said Mr Johnson would still have ‘some questions to answer’ as he faces an investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee over claims he lied to Parliament about lockdown parties in Downing Street.
But he said he is ‘leaning towards’ backing Mr Johnson to succeed Ms Truss in Downing Street, praising the former prime minister for his record on investing in defence and pointing to the ‘huge majority’ he won in 2019.
Pointing to Mr Johnson’s record on defence spending and citing the mandate he achieved in 2019, the Cabinet minister said it was important to think about ‘who could win the next election’ for the Conservatives.
Diehard Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary, claimed she had spoken to Mr Johnson following Ms Truss’s resignation and hinted strongly that he was preparing to run.
‘He is a known winner and that is certainly who I’m putting my name against, because I want us to win the general election. Having a winner in place is what the party needs to survive,” she told Sky News.
When asked on Good Morning Britain if Mr Johnson was returning from his trip abroad early, his father said: ‘I can’t tell you’.
However, in comments suggesting his son would be running for the Tory leadership again, Stanley Johnson told the programme: ‘I am going to listen to what the candidates have to say – this is the serious point – I will listen to all of them and I will say ‘OK, I think I’m going to support Boris. I am pretty sure I am going to support Boris’.
‘I am just speaking now as a voter but I want to be sure that he sticks to the 2019 manifesto.’
Stanley Johnson refused to confirm whether his son was considering a leadership bid during an appearance on Good Morning Britain (Picture: Shutterstock)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has called for an immediate general election, said the potential return of a man deemed ‘unfit for office’ by his own MPs ‘adds insult to injury’ for voters.
Under the rules set out by Sir Graham Brady – the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee – and party chairman Sir Jake Berry, nominations will close at 2pm on Monday.
The first ballot of MPs will then be held between 3.30pm and 5.30pm on Monday – if there are three candidates with the required number of nominations, the loser will be eliminated.
Once there are two candidates remaining, an indicative vote will be held so that the party membership know which is the preferred option among MPs.
Members will be able to take part in an online vote to choose their next leader and the country’s prime minister with the contest due to conclude by October 28.
The rules appear designed to encourage the candidate who finishes second to stand aside for the winner, ensuring the new leader has the support of the majority.
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Three cabinet members have thrown their support behind Boris Johnson to succeed Liz Truss in No.10 as rumours of his comeback continue.