Boris Johnson says: ‘I take personal responsibility for defeat and understand people’s frustrations’


IIt is not essential for Tory MPs to have a clear replacement for Boris Johnson before deciding whether to defenest him – but it certainly helps. So who are backbenchers looking for?

Liz Truss is the name that tends to come first on people’s lips. The Foreign Secretary is the longest-serving minister in government and has made the necessary efforts to win the support of colleagues by treating MPs to fancy dinners at the exclusive private members club at 5 Hertford Street.

But while she’s said to be popular with the more recent influx, Ms. Truss has struggled to get through to some of her long-standing colleagues. Likewise, while she’s been at the top of the ConHome ministerial rankings for over a year, her broader breakthrough has been limited, with a recent poll suggesting that around half of Britons have no idea who she is.

Rishi Sunak, Another name often cited as a candidate for leadership has seen its popularity slip against a backdrop of large spending and tax hikes. While he has arguably made a splash on social media, MPs say he has failed to court them enough to build a strong caucus of support among backbenchers.

Matt Hancock he is said to be looking forward to his chances, but this seems unlikely given his fall from grace is still in sight.

And with much concern over the current government, MPs could look further into options, with Jeremy Hunt – who ran into Mr Johnson in 2019 – seen as a safe, experienced pair of hands that have had a ‘good’ pandemic.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, could be a wild card option. He has been credited for his speeches during the Afghanistan withdrawal and is not a fan of the prime minister – who may offer an antidote to the poison many fear within the party.

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