Not going anywhere! Boris backer calls on Tory plotters to admit bid to oust PM failed

Danny Kruger calls for unity after Boris no confidence vote

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Conservative MP Danny Kruger has looked to draw a line under the simmering Tory party civil war ahead of potentially bruising by-elections for the party in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton. Mr Kruger backed Boris Johnson in this month’s confidence vote which saw 148 of the Prime Minister’s MPs vote in favour of his removal. 

The contest was called after 54 MPs submitted letters of no confidence to the backbench 1922 Committee following the release of the Sue Gray report which detailed a number of gatherings in Downing Street during the pandemic, one of which resulted in a police fine for Mr Johnson, his wife, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mr Kruger told “I’m not so naive as to think that everybody who voted against Boris […] is now going to enthusiastically support him and not plot or agitate against him anymore and no doubt there will be some who are thinking about how they can continue to campaign against him bluntly.

“I am hopeful that the majority of people, who you know and full respect for their opinion they did what they thought was right for the country in voting against him, but I think that they will now recognise we have a year in which he cannot be challenged again unless there’s a change of rules, which is pretty unlikely to me.

“So he’s not going anywhere.”

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He continued: “Which I’m glad about they might not be but they should recognise that that’s the situation and I’m on the impression, I guess was that people say, okay, there was a vote, it was a fair and square contest he won it.

“We now need to get behind him and give him another chance to set out the policy agenda that he thinks the country needs, which by the way, across the party we all agree with.

“There isn’t a great ideological division about strategy to pursue the country, it wasn’t some great policy clash like there was with Theresa May when she was facing a leadership challenge.

“So the question is about him, that question has now been answered, and I think people will want to move forward.”

Boris Johnson ‘won’t lead Tories into next election’ says former MP

Mr Kruger’s invention comes amid concern Tory division could damage the party’s performance in two upcoming by-elections, where candidates have at times struggled to defend the reputation of their party and that of the Prime Minister.

Helen Hurford, the Conservative candidate for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, twice declined to say that Boris Johnson is honest during an interview with the Guardian, according to the newspaper.

Ms Hurford, who is defending the Tory stronghold after Neil Parish resigned as an MP for the area over watching pornography in the Commons, instead said “Boris Johnson thinks he’s honest”.

This comes after Nadeem Ahmed, the party’s candidate for Wakefield in West Yorkshire, compared trust in the Tories following the resignation of disgraced former MP for the constituency, Imran Ahmad Khan, to faith in GPs despite the crimes of mass murderer Harold Shipman.

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Ms Hurford said that as a former primary school headteacher she is “very trustworthy”, but when asked if Mr Johnson is equally trustworthy she declined to answer directly, saying: “I will be giving my loyalty to somebody who has been given a third mandate by the party. This has happened. We need to move on.”

When asked the same question again, Ms Hurford, who is currently deputy mayor on Honiton Town Council, said: “I think Boris thinks that he is an honest person.

“How I conduct myself is how I conduct myself, and I think you are trying to catch me out here.”

Meanwhile, Government minister Paul Scully has distanced himself from the comparison made by Wakefield candidate Mr Ahmed. When asked on LBC about the comment, Mr Scully said: “It’s not a comparison I would have made.”

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