Boris 'wants to carry on' as PM

26 July 2022

4:26 AM

26 July 2022

4:26 AM

Faced with the choice of Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss, some Tories are experiencing something close to sellers’ remorse. Was Boris so bad, they wonder, as they compare the blonde bombshell’s proven qualities to his untested would-be replacements? Now some have taken that a step further and demanded that a secondary question be added to membership ballots in next month’s vote.

Under this initiative, the Tory grassroots would vote on whether to confirm the decison of MPs to force Johnson’s resignation. It’s being spearheaded by Lord Cruddas, former MEP Campbell-Bannerman and, er, no one else in Westminster it seems, other than the Telegraph’s politics team. For tonight the paper reports that Johnson himself has regrets about his own resignation and hopes to stay on, according to a conversation which the PM had last Friday over lunch at Chequers with Cruddas. The peer and former party treasurer told the newspaper:

There was no ambiguity in Boris’s views. He definitely does not want to resign. He wants to carry on and he believes that, with the membership behind him, he can… He said he could understand the membership’s anger at what had happened. He said that he wished that he could carry on as Prime Minister. He said he does not want to resign.

The pair discussed Cruddas’s ‘bring back Boris’ campaign, with the party donor claiming that Johnson told him that he was ‘rooting for your campaign to succeed.’ Asked by the peer if he would ‘wipe away” his resignation immediately with ‘a magic wand’, Johnson reportedly replied: ‘I would wipe away everything that stops me being PM in a second.’

So much for the graceful exit. While Mr S would enjoy watching the reaction of Sunak and Truss to being told that Johnson would not in fact be going, some saner heads in No. 10 are already pouring cold water on the improbable idea of a comeback. The Prime Minister’s spokesman has tonight confirmed that Johnson will stand down in September and not try to cling on to office, despite Cruddas’s efforts.

Just another six weeks to go now; who knows what will happen in that time?

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