Boris Johnson has 'huge grassroots support' says expert
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Boris Johnson headed to the Prime Minister’s countryside retreat Chequers to consider whether he will stand at the next general election or call time on his political career before Brits head to the polls. Mr Johnson arrived at the 16th-century Buckinghamshire country house alongside his wife Carrie and the couple’s two children Wilf and Romy. According to the Telegraph, the Prime Minister is now thinking about leaving politics altogether after he was forced to resign from the top job pending a Conservative Party leadership contest.
More than 50 MPs resigned from Mr Johnson’s Government and his newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi even called on his boss to quit less than two days into the job.
The Telegraph has claimed the Prime Minister is cautious about triggering a by-election in Uxbridge & South Ruislip after the Conservative Party were confounded to several humiliating defeats in southern England, including in Tiverton & Honiton last month.
Mr Johnson retained his west London seat when he led the Tory Party to its largest majority since 1987 by some 7,210 votes in 2019.
However, current opinion polls indicate Mr Johnson could lose the Brexit-backing seat to Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.
If Mr Johnson opted to stand and then lost the seat it would make him just the third ex-Prime Minister to be ousted as an MP.
Arthur Balfour infamously lost his Manchester East seat in the 1906 Liberal landslide and Labour’s first Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald was defeated in Seaham in 1935.
Mr Johnson could instead follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Gordon Brown if he decided to stand down when Parliament is dissolved ahead of the next election.
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However, he could also mimick David Cameron and Tony Blair by standing down from Parliament much sooner.
Following defeat in the 2016 Brexit referendum, Mr Cameron triggered a by-election in the safe Conservative seat of Witney.
The Telegraph has also suggested Mr Johnson took the betrayal of many of his own Ministers “in sorrow, not in anger”.
He is also thought to be mournful over the fact he cannot finish the job he set out to achieve when he became Prime Minister in 2019.
Mr Johnson is instead tipped to choose to return to writing, painting and even after-dinning speaking.
An insider told the Telegraph: “He’s taking this weekend to think about it.
“I don’t think he’s decided yet.
“He is taking stock and seeing where we are.
“He is not standing down now, but that’s not saying he will stand again.”
It has also been reported Mr Johnson could be lined up as a special envoy to Ukraine after leaving Downing Street.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister also shut down rumours which suggested Mr Johnson could run in the Tory leadership contest, according to MailOnline.
Ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak has taken an early lead after the Brexit-backing Richmond MP got the backing of 24 MPs, including ally Oliver Dowden and ex-Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has received 11 initial endorsements, entered the race on a low tax and defence spending platform yesterday.
Attorney General Suella Braverman, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are all level-pegging with nine backers.
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Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat, ex-Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, former Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have also entered the race.
However, the initial favourite Ben Wallace ruled himself out of the contest.
The Defence Secretary said: “After careful consideration and discussing with colleagues and family, I have taken the decision not to enter the contest for leadership of the Conservative Party.
“I am very grateful to all my parliamentary colleagues and wider members who have pledged support.
“It has not been an easy choice to make, but my focus is on my current job and keeping this great country safe.
“I wish the very best of luck to all candidates and hope we swiftly return to focusing on the issues that we are all elected to address.”
Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt is also tipped to launch a bid.
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