Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart completely rules out serving in Boris Johnson Cabinet
Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart has firmly ruled out serving in any Cabinet during a Boris Johnson premiership.
The International Development Secretary was accused of “flip-flopping” earlier this week after he said he would be “honoured to serve” under the Conservative leadership favourite despite having earlier ruled it out.
Speaking to ITV on Friday, Mr Stewart said he would refuse to serve in a government led by the ex-foreign secretary after he vowed to leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.
Just minutes earlier he had told the BBC: “If we ended up in a crisis, and I fear no deal Brexit would be a crisis, and if he were to wish me to come back, which I think is a little doubtful given the slight acrimony of the last few weeks, then of course, I’d be honoured to serve.”
But pressed to give a final answer on the issue by the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, Mr Stewart said: “I would not serve. I would not serve under a Boris Cabinet. I am not in this to be in the Cabinet.
"I am in the Cabinet already; I could just stay and keep my mouth shut."
He added: "I want to change this country and I want to challenge and say there are two completely different visions facing this country: Boris’s vision and mine. His strategy on Europe and mine. His vision on the economics and mine.
"And the question is, who do you want to represent us?”
The move to rule out a place at the top table of a Johnson government came as fellow Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt told the BBC he would be willing to serve the frontunner “loyally” if Mr Johnson won the race.
“I'm the one who wants to be Prime Minister,” he said. “If Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister I will serve him loyally and do everything I can to make his government a success. But I hope he would do the same for me.”
Mr Stewart, who has vowed to rule out a no-deal Brexit if he is made Prime Minister, meanwhile used a separate interview on Sunday to urge his party to “reach out” to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit group to help find a deal which could find support in the Commons.
Speaking directly to Mr Farage on LBC, he said: “We need to find a way, as a party, of reaching our to you and bring you in to try to work out how we crack this, how do we get this [Brexit] through Parliament."