Boris Johnson calls on Tory party to ‘get a grip’ and back Theresa May
Boris Johnson has publicly urged Conservative MPs to back Theresa May continuing as Prime Minister, hailing the number of votes the Tories won as a “stunning achievement”.
The Foreign Secretary’s intervention comes on the back of reports he was plotting a leadership bid – a claim he denied in a series of leaked WhatsApp messages to Conservative MPs yesterday.
Writing in The Sun, Mr Johnson pointed to the Tory vote tally being the biggest since the Thatcher years.
"Theresa May still leads by far the largest party in the House of Commons and the polls were right in one sense – that for the first time in decades the Tories got about 43% of the vote.
"Theresa May led a campaign that inspired 13.7 million people to vote Conservative, in the biggest total tally of Tory votes since the days of Margaret Thatcher.
“That is a stunning achievement, for which she deserves the support of her party. And she will certainly get it from me."
Mr Johnson said the public were “fed up to the back teeth” of votes and argued there could be “no backsliding” on previous commitments on the Government's plans for Brexit.
“To those that say the PM should step down, or that we need another election or even – God help us – a second referendum, I say come off it. Get a grip, everyone," he added.
“This is the third year running that we have forced the people out to the polls.
“This is the third year running that they have been accosted at stations and asked for their support, or had campaign literature thrust into their hands.
“My judgement is that they are fed up to the back teeth with all this.
“They are fed up with politics, politicians and the uncertainty and dislocation of the electoral process.”
Mr Johnson also conceded that the party’s campaign “did not go well, to put it mildly”, and that key messages were “misunderstood”.
“Yes, it was a very disappointing night for the Conservatives, and yes, it is easy now to see – in retrospect – that the campaign did not go well, to put it mildly,” he added.
“We failed to predict the collapse of the Lib Dems, or the way the Ukip vote would split. Key Tory messages got lost or were misunderstood.”
He also accused Labour of “ludicrous boasting”, adding that Jeremy Corbyn does not have the numbers to form a government.
Embarrassingly for Mr Johnson, however, the article initially praised the Tory victory in Clwyd South - even though Labour won the seat.
The reference was hastily deleted once the gaffe became clear, although it was noticed by Labour's MP for the area Susan Elan Jones.