WATCH: Tory MP Johnny Mercer rules himself out of Tory leadership race and backs Boris Johnson

Posted On: 
23rd May 2019

Tory rising star Johnny Mercer has ruled himself out of the race to be the next Conservative leader, as he threw his weight behind Boris Johnson to bring the country "together".

The Plymouth Moorview MP said he would work with Boris Johnson to "try and inspire the party".
Credit: 
PA

The Plymouth Moorview MP - who tore into Theresa May on Wednesday over the Government's treatment of military veterans who served during the Northern Ireland Troubles - said he was "not good enough to be Prime Minister at the moment".

But he vowed to team up with Mr Johnson to try to "inspire the party" to chart a "one nation" course.

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Speaking on ITV's Peston show, former Army officer Mr Mercer said: "I learn a lot from politics every day and... I've never said either that I'm going to be the next Prime Minister.

"Other people may have said that, which is very kind of them, but look - I've got a lot to learn and I enjoy learning in politics. But not yet for me, no."

Mr Mercer, who last year described Mrs May's government as a "sh*tshow" in a no-holds barred interview with The House magazine - said the Tories had been missing "leadership" throughout the Brexit process.

"And it's very clear to me that there is one individual that we can go forward and sort of try and govern from the centre/centre-right as a one nation Tory," he added.

"And that is Boris Johnson... I've had many conversations with him. We're going to try and do it together.

"Go out and try and inspire the party, bring them together, try and inspire the nation and get over this issue.

"And then just get back to governing in the every day issues that are so prevalent for so many people in this country."

'SCOOP MY OWN EYEBALLS OUT'

Mr Mercer's call for the party to avoid a shift to the right comes in the week that a new 60-strong caucus of Tory MPs - dubbed the 'One Nation' group - launched with a warning against "narrow nationalism".

A new "declaration of values" from the group, which is being spearheaded by Cabinet minister Amber Rudd, was backed by Mr Johnson, who said: "One Nation values have never been more important."

But Labour MP Wes Streeting said: "I fear one nation Conservatives and their ability to win a big majority.

"Listening to Johnny extol the virtues of Boris Johnson as a one nation Conservative made me want to scoop my own eyeballs out with a teaspoon.

"This is one of the most disingenuous, self-serving politicians our country's ever seen."