‘Carrie needs to tell Boris to go, like Denis had to for Maggie’: Top Tory urges those closest to embattled PM to tell him ‘the game is up’ – as he remains barricaded himself in No10 with wife and advisor Guto Harri
Commons Liaison Committee chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin has called on Boris Johnson‘s wife Carrie to convince the Prime Minister that he must resign.
The Tory MP said today that she should invoke the spirit of Margaret Thatcher’s husband Denis who told his wife the night before she quit that she had to go.
He said of Mrs Thatcher: ‘It was her closest allies – Norman Tebbit, a very close friend Frank Field, and of course her husband Denis who said: ‘Come on love, it’s over’.’
Mr Johnson, 58, is thought to have been discussing issues at Downing Street with his director of communications Guto Harri, as well as his 34-year-old wife.
Sir Bernard also said the responsibility is now ‘for those who are closest around him’ to convince Mr Johnson to go, and reflected on the events of November 1990.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and wife Carrie at the G7 summit in Germany on June 26
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘It’s those people who have got to tell a leader that it’s over, because they just go into denial at this point.’
Sir Bernard spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday about his refusal to quit, urging him to go – amid a wave of ministerial resignations over the past few days.
He said this morning: ‘There’s no question it’s over for Boris Johnson as Prime Minster and I went to tell him that at lunchtime yesterday after Prime Minister’s Questions.
‘There are three ways a prime minister can be removed; one is his government falls apart, and that’s happening, but it’s astonishing he hasn’t got the message from that.
‘Second; the bigger vote of confidence in the Conservative Party to remove him as leader and he would have to go.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with husband Denis Thatcher at 10 Downing Street in 1979
‘And ultimately, there could be a vote of confidence in the House of Commons and I don’t think he would want to bring it to that.’
‘I just said to him, look, it’s just when you go now and it’s how you go. You can go with some dignity or you can be forced out like Donald Trump clinging to power and pretending he’s won the election when he’s lost.
‘And the responsibility here is for those who are closest around him. I remember when Margaret Thatcher was ousted – I wasn’t even in Parliament then, but heard much about it afterwards. Many people went to see her to try to get her to carry on.
‘Remember she had actually won the first round of the ballot in the leadership contest. But it was her closest allies – Norman Tebbit, a very close friend Frank Field, and of course her husband Denis who said: ‘Come on love, it’s over.’
Commons Liaison Committee chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin, who is also a Conservative MP
‘And it’s those people who have got to tell a leader that it’s over, because they just go into denial at this point.’
‘What I said to him is, for your own sake, for your own reputation, for the people you really love, for the people who really love you, don’t put yourself through this and don’t extend the agony for the Conservative Party and the country – it’s in nobody’s interests.
‘I hope he’ll go today – he really must go today. I mean the reason why – I wasn’t at the 1922 executive yesterday – but the reason why I think they decided not to change the rules… first of all, we’re due a re-election; but the second reason is well surely he’s just going to go. Surely he sees the writing on the wall.
‘I mean it’s got a kind of Macbeth-like quality at the moment. Birnam Wood will never come to Dunsinane, and I am not of woman born.’