Politics

Boris Johnson calls questions over his leadership ‘political commentary’

Boris Johnson has called questions over his leadership “political commentary” as rumours mount that a few of his own MPs are considering defecting to the Labour Party.

Asked about the reports, the prime minister told reporters that “these are matters for commentators”.

Mr Johnson added that his job is to “get on with the agenda” his government has put in place.

“I think this really falls into the category of political commentary which I think I leave to distinguished journalists such as yourself,” the PM told broadcasters.

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Pressed further on his reference to “political commentary”, Mr Johnson continued: “I think its my job to talk about our policies, what we are doing for the country, what’s been going on at the G7.

“There are plenty of people that could offer their opinion on that.”

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Asked whether his premiership is over if lifelong Conservatives move over to the Labour party, the PM said: “There are plenty of people who can offer political commentary, that’s what they’re paid to do, leave it to them.

“My job is to get on and deliver the agenda we’ve got, its a massive agenda, I’m very excited by it. We are making huge amount of progress on all sorts of fronts – I’m going to leave that to you.”

Over the weekend The Sunday Times reported that the PM was facing three new threats to his leadership with MPs discussing defections, fresh letters of no confidence being sent and mutinous cabinet ministers considering whether to move against him.

Speaking to broadcasters yesterday from Germany, the prime minister said doubts over his premiership are now “settled” after he survived a confidence vote “a couple of weeks ago”.

On Monday, George Eustice told Sky News that Mr Johnson still has the support of his cabinet despite one of his top team resigning last week.

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PM has full support of the cabinet?

“We have the support of the prime minister. The prime minister has our support,” the environment secretary said.

“We work together and, you know, we stick together through difficult times.

“And even when, yes, you have very disappointing election results, as we undoubtedly did last Thursday, we have got an important agenda that we’re working on – and that’s what we’re all focussed on.”

It came after the PM said he was confident of winning the next election and was “thinking actively” about a third term, despite recent political turmoil.

“I am thinking actively about the third term and what could happen then. But I will review that when I get to it,” Mr Johnson told reporters on the final day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, at the weekend.

A Downing Street source later suggested he may have been joking.

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On Monday, the PM said questions over his leadership have been ‘settled’

Last week the Tories lost their former stronghold of Tiverton and Honiton to the Liberal Democrats and the red wall seat of Wakefield to Labour.

The electoral beatings have reignited questions within the Conservative Party over Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Standing down as Tory co-chairman in the wake of the losses early on Friday morning, Oliver Dowden said he and Conservative supporters were “distressed and disappointed by recent events” and told Mr Johnson that “someone must take responsibility”.

Speaking to Trevor Phillips on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis acknowledged the party had suffered “a bad set of results” but said Mr Johnson is “the right person to take us into the next general election”.

“I think he will do that successfully,” he continued.

Labour has challenged the Conservatives to call an early general election, with leader Sir Keir Starmer telling Mr Johnson to: “Bring it on.”

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