Boris Johnson Would Be A ‘Guaranteed Disaster’ As PM, Says Tory MP Steve Baker

The influential Brexiteer backs Rishi Sunak for leader in a boost for the former chancellor.
Steve Baker told Sky News: "This isn’t the time for Boris and his style."
Steve Baker told Sky News: "This isn’t the time for Boris and his style."
Sky News

Tory rebel Steve Baker has said Boris Johnson’s return as prime minister would be a “guaranteed disaster” as he threw his weight behind Rishi Sunak for leader.

The arch-Brexiteer said he was backing the former chancellor because he would deliver “competent, capable, professional government that we can rely on”.

Baker’s endorsement will be a major coup for the former chancellor who also secured the backing of former Tory leadership contender Kemi Badenoch.

The international trade secretary said that while she was a “fan” of Johnson, “his return, given all that’s happened, would not bring people together”.

The endorsements will lead to speculation that Sunak is storming ahead of Johnson, who is mulling a bid to return to the top job just months after being forced from office by his own MPs.

Last night there were reports that Sunak and Johnson were locked in talks to strike a deal to “unify” the party.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Baker said: “This isn’t the time for Boris and his style.

“I’m not willing to lay down my integrity for Boris Johnson.”

Baker, a former chair of the Eurosceptic ERG group of the rightwing Tory MPs, warned that Johnson could be damaged by the impending privileges committee inquiry into whether the former MP misled MPs with his statements on the partygate scandal

“I’m afraid the trouble is because of the [Commons Privileges Committee] vote, Boris would be a guaranteed disaster,” he said.

“There’s going to be a vote before the House of Commons on this issue of privileges, whether he will deliberately misled the house.

“In that vote it’s guaranteed there’ll be a large number of Conservatives who will refuse, as they see it, to lay down their integrity to save him, and at that moment his premiership will collapse.”

He added: “It’s a guaranteed nailed-on failure and we cannot allow it to happen.”

Asked whether Johnson should stand aside to let Sunak take the crown, Baker said: “I think it would be for the best if Boris did something big and statesmanlike.

“I think he’d make an amazing chairman of the party.

“But what we can’t do is have him as prime minister in circumstances where he’s bound to implode, taking down the whole government within and we just can’t do that again.”


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