Jacob Rees-Mogg Insists Boris Johnson Will Stand For Tory Leader

The business secretary said the former PM had a "great deal of support".
Jacob Rees-Mogg said Boris Johnson "had the numbers" to make it on to the leadership ballot.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said Boris Johnson "had the numbers" to make it on to the leadership ballot.
Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Boris Johnson will stand in the Tory leadership race despite the fact he is yet to formally throw his hat in the ring.

The business secretary, a stanch Johnson ally, spoke moments before Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, formally declared his bid to be prime minister.

Earlier there were reports that Johnson and Sunak had held talks to reach a deal of running on a joint ticket.

Sunak’s decision to announce his intention to run suggests the talks had ended without agreement.

Rees-Mogg said he had spoken to Johnson adding: “Clearly he’s going to stand, there’s a great deal of support for him”.

Johnson’s camp claim he has met the threshold of 100 MP nominations that is required for candidates to get on the leadership ballot — but there is some scepticism about the claims given that his public declarations are much lower at 55.

Sunak is thought to be ahead in the race with the backing of at least 129 Tory MPs, while Penny Mordaunt, the Commons leader, has 23 public endorsements.

The business secretary dismissed claims from the Sunak camp that Johnson had failed to reach the 100 MP threshold, telling the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: “Well they would, wouldn’t they.

“The people who are doing the numbers for the Boris campaign told me they have the numbers.”

In a tweet announcing his candidacy, Sunak said he was running to replace Liz Truss to “fix the economy, unite our party and deliver for our country”.

“The challenges we face now are even greater. But the opportunities — if we make the right choice — are phenomenal.

“I have the track record of delivery, a clear plan to fix the biggest problems we face and I will deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto.”

Sunak backer Dominic Raab admitted that he would “love” to see Johnson return to frontline politics but said partygate was still a “major issue” due to the ongoing privileges committee investigation into whether he misled MPs over parties in Downing Street.

“In a matter of days, not weeks, he’s going to see televised witness testimony, including his own, which is going to take him right back into that spiral,” he said.

Raab’s concerns were echoed by leading Brexiteer Steve Baker, who also threw his weight behind Sunak in a major boost for the former chancellor.

Baker said he was backing Sunak in the interests of stability and that the return on Boris Johnson would be a “guaranteed disaster”.


What's Hot