Tory MP Calls For General Election As Conservatives Are Now 'Ungovernable'

Sir Christopher Chope said Boris Johnson was the only one with a mandate.
Christopher Chope called for a general election now Boris Johnson is not standing to be the next Tory leader
Christopher Chope called for a general election now Boris Johnson is not standing to be the next Tory leader
House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images

Christopher Chope has called for a general election, claiming that Conservative Party is now “ungovernable”.

Chope, the MP for Christchurch, was backing former prime minister Boris Johnson in the race to become the next leader of the Tory party.

Johnson pulled out of the race on Sunday night, leaving Rishi Sunak as the frontrunner while Penny Mordaunt trails far behind him – but Chope wasn’t happy backing either of them.

Hours after Johnson’s shock withdrawal, Chope told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “We’ve got a parliamentary party which is completely riven and it’s ungovernable.

“And in a sense, that’s why Boris Johnson has pulled out because Rishi Sunak wasn’t ready to guarantee him his support, in the event that he was elected by the party and the country.

“Unless we can have someone as our leader in parliament who commands the respect of the party and the country, we are essentially, ungovernable.

“He did have a mandate, now we have the prospect of having a Conservative Party leader who doesn’t have a mandate from the country and won’t even have a mandate from the membership and the party either.”

Chope said he supported both Johnson and Liz Truss, and claimed both of them had their authority undermined by people “who wished to take the crown”.

Presenter Nick Robinson asked: “Despite all that, will you back Rishi Sunak?”

Chope dodged the question and continued claiming that the best way for the next Tory leader to have any authority would be “to win a mandate with the people.”

“And that’s why I think a general election is the only answer, otherwise we’re just going to go from bad to worse, we’re going to have continuing rebellions as we try to change policies and so on.

“I’m very pessimistic and I’m very angry. I feel Boris Johnson has been let down once again by our parliamentary colleagues.”

He also maintained that Johnson had more than 100 Tory MPs – the former PM has claimed he had 102 MPs supporting his return bid – but there is scepticism about the accuracy of this number, as only a few MPs publicly declared their support.

However, Sunak-supporter Grant Shapps, current home secretary, transport secretary under Johnson and former nominee in the first Tory leadership race of 2022, said there was no need for a general election.

Speaking to Sky News on Monday, he said: “There was in a sense an excursion, a diversion, from the 2019 manifesto in some ways.”

He said that from now onwards, the Tory party would be “more authentic to the 2019 manifesto” so the public don’t need a fresh vote on the government.

Shapps added: “Anyway, in five years, people get to judge the outcome of the votes they placed.

“I don’t disagree that there is a lot to do and a lot to prove.

“We’ve had all the distractions of coronavirus, we’ve got the war in Ukraine causing that inflation.”

But he said voters will get their say in two years time, and will be able to base their votes on 2019 manifesto anyway.

Shapps also conceded that four prime ministers since 2019 was “unusual”, but claimed: “The manifesto is the manifesto. If you want to see what Rishi Sunak will be doing, it’s all there.”

Sky News presenter Niall Paterson then asked: “Genuinely, what has been the point of the Conservative Party for the last three months?”

Shapps replied: “Well, look, I didn’t vote for what we’ve for the last couple of months....”

“Your colleagues did, that’s the point.”

The minister said: “Mostly MPs didn’t, the view was taken in the country among membership to go in a certain direction. I think it’s fair to say that it hasn’t worked and the. current prime minister has acknowledged that and resigned as a result.”


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