‘Chaotic’ Boris MUST still stay on until successor named – Widdecombes warning to Tories

Boris Johnson: Replacement candidates as Prime Minister resigns

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However, the prominent Brexiteer believes the Prime Minister was undone by his “chaotic” approach to the job – although she insisted he was NOT a serial liar. Mr Johnson resigned from his post today (Thursday) after a string of ministerial resignations triggered by his admission that he had made Tory MP Chris Pincher deputy chief whip despite having been told about a misconduct complaint against him. Mr Pincher is facing fresh allegations of sexual assault related to incidents at the Carlton Club, which prompted his own resignation last week.

The PM announced his decision in a brief statement delivered outside Downing Street at lunchtime in which he stressed his “immensely proud of the achievements of this Government”, from getting Brexit done to getting the UK through the pandemic, and leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. He further indicated his determination to remain in his job until the result of the forthcoming Conservative Party leadership election in October.

Throughout last night, news out of Number 10 suggested he was determined to carry on, but Ms Widdecombe, who was an MP during the last days of Margaret Thatcher’s Premiership in 1990, rejected any comparisons between the two situations.

She said: “There are no real parallels. With Mrs Thatcher, she had already been in power 11 years. Boris has been in power for two.

“It’s a completely different situation and most of that was taken up with Covid.

“I think he was right to try and hang on but I think from about yesterday afternoon, I thought it was a doomed attempt.”

She added: “I think Boris has been misjudged. I don’t think he’s a serial liar, I think he’s just plain chaotic.

“He was a really successful Mayor of London because he had a very good and very competent organisation around him.

“And he began well enough as PM because he had Dominic Cummings, who had a proper grip on Downing Street.

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“Since Dominic, he has not had anybody saying to him: ‘Shut up, Prime Minister. Don’t make any statements, don’t say anything until we’ve worked out exactly what the situation really is.’

“Whereas he blunders in and says something and like most of us, if you say something on the spur of the moment, you end up having to clarify it later, but it doesn’t mean that you did it deliberately.”

Asked about his vow to remain in post, which has prompted criticism even among some Tory MPs, she said: “It’s entirely practical for him to stay on until October: all leaders have overseen the election for their successor.

“Name me one Prime Minister who has just left. Just because he’s resigned it doesn’t mean he will go out of Number 10 that day and ride off into the sunset.”

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She dismissed concerns about the effectiveness of his administration in the wake of his announcement, saying: “Now that he’s gone we do have a functioning Government in this country, as they will just get on with it.

“He will fill the cabinet and what they do with the Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) is frankly neither here nor there.

“Nevertheless this has been massively damaging for the country, damaging for the country, damaging for Ukraine – Zelensky would not have wanted him to go – damaging for the party, undeniably, and damaging for everything.”

Multiple ministers – including Nadhim Zahawi, only appointed Chancellor two days earlier following Rishi Sunak’s resignation – had been left with no choice but to tell him to quit, Ms Widdecombe stressed.

She said: “I think everybody just got to the stage where they couldn’t see a way out and friends were telling him, that’s it.

“Nevertheless his cabinet has got a job to do and they will do it until somebody else is elected and a new administration is put in place.”

Ms Widdecombe said she would never have predicted six months ago that Mr Johnson’s time as PM would have ended so soon while blaming his haphazard approach.

She said: “I think he says things believing them to be true at the time, but because he’s thinking of 100 other things he hasn’t given them enough thought, then he says something that contradicts that and he says ‘I’m sorry, I should have said this’.

“And then five minutes later he says something else, and it looks terrible.

“But everybody knows the man knows he is just chaotic, and that’s why he needed somebody with a grip.

“He hasn’t got it in his personal life – Carrie is not Marina Wheeler – and he hasn’t got it in Downing Street.

“In politics if you say something which you know to be untrue, but which crucially other people know to be untrue, then you know you’re going to come undone.”

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