Northern Tory leader Jake Berry Considering Bid To Succeed Johnson
Exclusive: Jake Berry, the former minister who leads the Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs, is considering a surprise bid to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
A number of Tory MPs in the north of England are urging him to enter into what is expected to be a wide field of leadership candidates, PoliticsHome understands.
The race to replace Johnson is underway after the Prime Minister finally bowed to pressure on him to quit from senior Cabinet members and Conservative MPs. He confirmed that he would resign as Tory party leader and Prime Minister in a statement on Thursday lunchtime.
Berry is thought to be considering a leadership pitch centred on a "new deal for Britain" and keeping levelling up at the heart of the government's policy agenda.
The deal, according to an NRG source, is a plan to “unify every region, and ensure that the government is seen to be on the side of hardworking Britons".
It is understood that it would rely heavily on Berry’s speech to the NRG conference last month, where he demanded three policies enacted, to “deliver levelling up.” The three policies touched on devolving more powers to regions, a levelling-up fund to benefit regions outside of London, and a twin tracked education system with a heavy focus on skills.
One northern Conservative MP said: “You’ll see other candidates scrabbling for policies, but Jake is the only one who has an oven ready offering. He’s banged on about small state, lower taxes and helping regional inequality all year."
A source close to Berry, who is the MP for Rossendale and Darwen, told PoliticsHome: “He appeals to people because he gets what matters. He is the only well known member of the party who has actually offered policies.”
Attorney General Suella Braverman has already announced her intention to replace Johnson. Influential back bencher Steve Baker said he was being urged to run by Conservative MPs.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is currently the most popular choice among Tory party members to succeed Johnson, while Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi and Penny Mordaunt are just some of the senior Conservatives who are expected to enter the race.
Berry had been seen as a leading candidate to replace Oliver Dowden as Tory party chairman.
However, he is now eyeing a bid for 10 Downing Street after being encouraged to do so by a number of Conservative MPs in the NRG.
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