Shaun Bailey claims he has Boris Johnson's personal backing after rumours of plot to oust him as London Mayor candidate
Shaun Bailey has hit out at 'big mouths' in his party
Shaun Bailey has claimed Boris Johnson gave him his personal backing as London Mayoral candidate following rumours of a Tory coup to remove him.
The Conservative candidate has hit out at "big mouths" in his party after it was reported a series of senior officials and donors were looking to have him replaced with a more prominent figure.
Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported Mr Bailey, a former youth worker who was selected for the role two years ago, had lost the support of the group due to his flagging popularity, with ex-Chancellor Sajid Javid being considered as an alternative.
But Mr Javid denied he had been approached for the role, with a spokesperson saying Mr Bailey was a "fantastic candidate".
Asked about the plot by Sky's Sophy Ridge, Mr Bailey said the Prime Minister had thrown his weight behind him, telling him he "needn't worry" about the rumours.
"Actually, I have kind of dug around to the bottom of this," he said. "What was really good about this was when this rumour emerged I went straight to the PM and I said: 'What is going on here?'
"And he said, whatever it is Shaun you needn't worry because I am on your side. Let's do some investigation."
Meanwhile, Mr Bailey said he had also recieved the backing of Mr Javid, claiming the plot had led to him winning more support from the party.
"Some people have got big mouths, and some people were always distressed that I was selected as the candidate to run for the Conservative Party," he said.
"But one of my proudest boasts is that I was selected by the members. The members have a choice and they chose me, and they have shown with this rumour who they support and who they don't, because they all rallied behind me."
He added: "And the most important thing is, is that the man they suggested wanted to do the job, Saj, he rang me straight away and he said: 'Shaun this is nonsense and I am looking forward to coming out campaigning with you."
"So what I have taken is solace from the fact that I have more support now than I have ever had before, so I am just going to get on with campaigning."
Speaking at the time of the reports, a Conservative Party spokesperson said: "The party, including its chairmen, have clearly stated full support for Shaun.
"He is the only candidate that can defeat Sadiq Khan next year and fix the current mayor’s litany of failures for Londoners."