Nadine Dorries Claims Boris Johnson 'Did The Right Thing' By Withdrawing

But, only yesterday, she said "all hell would break loose" if Rishi Sunak gets into No.10.
Nadine Dorries with Boris Johnson
Nadine Dorries with Boris Johnson
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Prominent Boris Johnson supporter Nadine Dorries surprisingly said he “did the right thing” by stepping out of the race to be the next prime minister.

The former culture secretary has been loyal to him for years, and once Liz Truss resigned, she was quick to tweet, “the boss is back”, celebrating the potential return of Johnson.

However, he announced he was pulling out of the race on Sunday night.

And, despite her enthusiasm for a second Johnson term, Dorries told Times Radio that he had done “the right thing” by not running, because the Tory Party is so fractured.

She added that Johnson withdrew for the “right reasons”, insisting: “That doesn’t mean it’s the end of Boris Johnson.”

She said Johnson supporters are “very keen that we have unity in the party”, and will be “very keen to back a candidate to make that happen” – although she did not say who she would now be backing.

Dorries did take aim at Rishi Sunak’s only remaining opponent though, saying: “I mean, Penny Mordaunt hasn’t really held a serious job in government.

“The fact that Penny asked Boris Johnson to step back for her, I thought was quite interesting.”

She claimed that Johnson also did have 102 votes from MPs, although that has not been verified. Many MPs have not publicly announced who they’re backing.

Despite this dig at Mordaunt, Dorries also told LBC Radio shortly after Johnson’s announcement that if Sunak became prime minister, it would lead to “all hell breaking loose”.

She said: “He’s got no mandate from the people.”

Dorries said he had “lost every election he’s gone up for”.

Speaking to presenter Rachel Johnson, the sister of the former prime minister, Dorries said: “He lost the leadership election to Liz Truss, he hasn’t won this one, he won’t have gone to the members for the vote and I think it will be a very, very difficult for him to sustain the pressure not to go for a general election.

“He’s got no mandate, whatsoever, to be prime minister of this country.”

She also tweeted: “It will now be impossible to avoid a GE.

“Boris would have won members vote – already had a mandate from the people. Rishi and Penny, despite requests from Boris, refused to unite which would have made governing utterly impossible. Penny actually asked him to step aside for her.”

She then tweeted that if Sunak were to win, she’s “absolutely certain” that the privileges committee would “move straight onto Rishi Sunak and what he knew” about partygate. Both he and Johnson were fined for mixing indoors when strict Covid rules were in place.

Johnson pulled out of the race unexpectedly on Sunday, despite claiming in a statement that “I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024” after claiming he had 102 MP nominations.

He said: “There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members – and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday.“

However, he added: “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”

Only at the start of October, Dorries wrote in The Times that Johnson was “one of the world’s best leaders” – and that the decision to oust him was “baffled and bewildered”.


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