Former Foreign Secretary and two-time Mayor of London Boris Johnson has confirmed that he will be standing for the Conservative leadership in the event that a “vacancy” becomes available.
Mr Johnson, a former Mayor of London and a figurehead of the campaign to leave the European Union was speaking in a Q&A at a business conference in Manchester when he was asked if he would consider running for the party leadership. Johnson at first dodged the question, saying there was no vacancy for the job, however when pressed he said “of course I’m going to go for it”. Mr Johnson, however, refused to answer further questions from reporters in the aftermath of the comment.
Theresa May Rejects Calls to Stand Down But Will Lay Out Departure Timetable Next Month https://t.co/d72eYsYAsr
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 16, 2019
The senior Conservative’s bid is said to be years in the making. His run for the leadership in 2016 after David Cameron stood down as Prime Minister grabbed headlines after it was alleged his parliamentary ally Michael Gove went behind his back and ran for the leadership himself, causing Johnson to decide against contesting the election, eventually won by Theresa May.
In October at the Conservative Party conference, Boris was the central attraction with crowds waiting over an hour to hear him speak. The speech was seen as his moment to shine and to set out his stall for a future bid at the party leadership, however despite some highlights, the speech fell flat. Writing for Breitbart, James Delingpole said “the crowd left happy, but not fulfilled”.
Presented with a golden opportunity to usurp a floundering May, Boris bottled his chance and has been increasingly marginalised since.
Delingpole: Boris Johnson Fluffs His Donald Trump Moment https://t.co/VnRuDFkaWQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 2, 2018
Boris has also potentially weakened his own popularity among committed Brexiteers as he backed Theresa May’s widely unpopular withdrawal agreement in its unsuccessful third outing in the commons.
Despite, this, Johnson is still seen as the odds-on favourite to win a leadership contest as perhaps the best known Conservative politician in the running. Johnson will likely face a crowded field, however, with several MPs having already declared their intention to run and several more rumoured to be planning a leadership bid.
Among those that have declared so far are International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom and former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey.
Boris Johnson Again Offers to Back May’s ‘Total Surrender’ Brexit Deal He Previously Denounced https://t.co/eM3ycryqEd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 11, 2019
Boris’s announcement comes as it is widely believed that Theresa May will be standing down in a matter of weeks. May has already said that she would leave after Brexit is secured but it is thought that she may quit if her planned vote on her EU withdrawal agreement is rejected by the House of Commons for the fourth time.
Chairman of the backbench 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady along with other senior MPs met with the Prime Minister earlier today and reached an agreement that Mrs May would announce a timetable for her departure after the vote, due at the start of June.
Recent opinion polls have shown that in the upcoming European Union elections, the Conservatives are in a distant third place, behind Labour and the Brexit Party, with just 15 per cent of voters saying they plan to vote for the Conservatives according to the latest Comres poll. National polling is not much better, the latest Ipsos Mori poll shows the Conservatives second behind Labour on just 25 per cent, down from the 42.4 per cent they achieved in the 2017 general election.