No-confidence vote has left Boris ‘rattled’ and ‘chastened’ says former Tory treasurer – as Tory calls grow for PM to make rebel-rouser Jeremy Hunt Chancellor to buy his loyalty
- Result of the confidence ballot left PM ‘rattled but determined’, former aide says
- Lord Marland said Boris should ‘rediscover X-Factor’ to cling on to premiership
- Allies are urging PM to offer Chancellor to Jeremy Hunt in bid to end infighting
- Hunt’s ally suggests despite result of vote, the issue is not yet over for Johnson
The result of a confidence vote in his leadership has left Boris Johnson ‘rattled’ and ‘chastened’ but determined to deliver an agenda for the British people, an ally and former adviser has said.
Lord Marland, a former aide to Johnson, has said the Prime Minister must ‘rediscover’ his ‘X-Factor’ and propose policies that appeal to the Conservative party.
It comes as Boris is being urged by allies to offer the job of Chancellor to key rival Jeremy Hunt in a bid to stabilise his leadership and put an end to party infighting, the Telegraph has reported.
Meanwhile, Hunt’s ally says the Prime Minister is still in ‘very choppy waters’ after this week’s developments in Westminster.
Despite the Prime Minister securing victory in Monday’s ballot, the result saw 148 Conservative MPs declare that they had no confidence in his leadership.
The vote was the result of an internal row, largely centred on the Partygate scandal and its fallout.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the Falklands War last night, Johnson said ‘things are a bit quieter in Westminster’ and ‘relatively peaceful’.
But the number of rebel Tories was higher than Boris’s allies had anticipated and, as a result, the PM has been left shaken and must ‘rediscover’ his ‘X-factor’, his former advisor has said.
Boris Johnson has been left ‘rattled’ by the result of a confidence ballot held on Monday which saw 148 Tory MPs register votes of no confidence, Lord Marland has said (pictured together)
Above: At an event to commemorate the Falklands War’s 40th anniversary today, the PM said: ‘Now things are a bit quieter in Westminster, perhaps I may be able to go before too long’
Lord Marland, a former aide and Conservative Treasurer, told BBC’s Newsnight: ‘Of course he’s rattled. I saw him this afternoon, and he is very rattled by it.
‘But I was struck by firstly how chastened he was, and secondly how determined he is to deliver an agenda for the British people, in terms of dealing with food security, dealing with energy security which are going to be the two looming crises.
‘And of course his performance on Ukraine has been excellent, and I think we’ll see more of that.’
‘I think Boris Johnson has got that X factor. He’s got to rediscover it. He’s got to come out with a series of policies which appeal to the Conservative party on the one hand, he’s got to rebuild the Conservative party in alliance with him.
‘And secondly those policies that are in the best interests of the country, to solve the crises which he has inherited – food supply, those issues.’
Meanwhile, proposals for a ‘dream team’ with Boris continuing as PM while Jeremy Hunt steps in as Chancellor emerged yesterday in the wake of the confidence ballot, according to the Telegraph.
Allies believe the appointment would put an end to infighting within the Conservative party.
But a key ally of Jeremy Hunt yesterday warned the bid to oust Boris Johnson was ‘not over’.
The Prime Minister is being urged by allies to offer the job of Chancellor to former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a bid to stabilise his leadership and put an end to party infighting
Philip Dunne, who ran Mr Hunt’s failed leadership campaign in 2019, suggested the question of who would head the party into the next election was not settled.
Despite Mr Johnson’s confidence vote victory, Mr Dunne claimed the Prime Minister faced some ‘very choppy waters’ – and indicated there would be further attempts to undermine him.
It was suggested last night that some Tory rebels could use ‘vote strikes’ to paralyse the Government.
They are said to be threatening to abstain on key pieces of legislation they might otherwise have been pressured into supporting.
It was even claimed the action could include abstaining on a bill to override sections of the Northern Ireland protocol, which is expected to be published within days.
Some of the Tory MPs who voted against Mr Johnson said yesterday that they needed to accept the result of the confidence vote.
But Mr Dunne, MP for Ludlow, who voted against the Prime Minister, said the matter was not closed.
He told BBC Radio Shropshire: ‘I took the view that it would be better to provide the opportunity for integrity, for a new vision for the party and a new degree of competence at the heart of government.
Tory MP Philip Dunne has said despite Boris surviving the vote, the matter is not yet closed
The Prime Minister’s allies believe Boris and Jeremy Hunt (pictured) would make ‘dream team’
‘It’s not going to happen for now, but we’ll have to see what happens in the coming weeks and months. This is not over.’
The former minister added that Mr Johnson had ‘some very difficult challenges ahead’, including by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton at the end of this month, and the privileges committee investigation into whether he misled parliament over Partygate.
‘We’ve got some very tricky conditions ahead through the economy, challenges with the Northern Irish protocol to resolve,’ he said.
‘There are some very choppy waters ahead and they’d be difficult to navigate for anyone.’
Casting doubt on whether Mr Johnson could unite the party, he added: ‘We do need to come together and we need to find a way to do that, whether that’s under the Prime Minister or somebody else.’
But Nigel Mills, Amber Valley MP, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: ‘I wanted to see a change made, but I accept the result that my colleagues by a majority of over 60 wanted to keep the Prime Minister – effectively saying that we should forgive the indiscretions of the lockdown period and move on.
Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills said he accepted the ballot result despite wanting change
‘So that I think is the right approach now for the party, the Government and the country. We’ve got a lot of serious crises that need tackling, we should get behind the Government to do that.
‘We’ve chosen to forgive and move on, we now need to make the case for the country that they need to do the same. It’s not obviously what I wanted to happen, but that is the decision that has been made.’
Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, said: ‘You can’t have a situation whereby every time somebody loses a vote, they won’t accept the result. We saw that with Brexit, and I was opposed to people not accepting that and I’m not going to fall into the same trap as they did.’
When asked how Mr Johnson would be able to continue to govern when so many MPs have expressed no confidence in his leadership, Mr Davies said: ‘All of us should get behind him and so on and accept he won the vote.’
Mr Hunt was silent yesterday following the failed attempt to remove Mr Johnson.
Ahead of the confidence vote on Monday, he had broken cover to call for the Prime Minister to be removed from office.
He warned MPs the Tories would be defeated at the next election unless the party acted.
‘The decision is change or lose. I will be voting for change,’ he tweeted.
His remarks came just three weeks after he declared that it was not ‘the right moment’ for a leadership contest.
In an interview on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme on May 15, Mr Hunt said: ‘Britain has been the most robust member of the Western alliance in the face of the first major war in Europe in our lifetimes and I think the only person who would rejoice if we had a hiatus of several months in the leadership in Britain would be Vladimir Putin.’
Mr Dunne accompanied Mr Hunt as he took part in the confidence vote on Monday.
He was sacked from his job as a junior minister in January 2018, a day after he suggested overcrowded hospitals that ran out of beds could use seats instead.
Last November he faced criticism as it emerged he had called for more military spending without declaring his £425-an-hour job with an aerospace company.