Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Boris Johnson allies set deadline to move against Rishi Sunak and install their man in No10 | The Sun

TORY plotters have set a summer deadline for Rishi Sunak to turn the Conservative polls around before they move to install Boris Johnson back in Downing Street.

Allies of the ex-PM told The Sun a fourth change of leadership will be crucial to saving their party from a Labour thrashing at the next general election.

And they want to act in good time, specifically before Conservative Conference in October.

Leadership whispers come as Boris’ nearest and dearest in Westminster are due to gather at the glamorous Carlton members’ club this evening.

MPs and political allies will clink glasses as a portrait of the ex-PM is unveiled in the swanky venue. 

Former Culture Secretary and Boris cheerleader Nadine Dorries has openly claimed it's “Boris or die” for the Tories.

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Writing in the Mail on Sunday she said: "It should be no surprise to anyone that the thing the Labour Party fears most is the return of Boris Johnson.

"For the Conservatives, it’s bring back Boris or die because the first task of any Labour government would be to ensure that there’ll never be a majority Conservative government ever again."

Other big beasts, including Priti Patel and Jake Berry, have hinted at a similar feeling.  

And strictly in private, a sizable number of powerful MPs are saying the same too.

They're currently considering how best to play their cards.

Senior Tory MPs told The Sun they think Mr Sunak's leadership has been “stale” and “uninspiring”.

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They claimed their constituents have asked for a Boris comeback unprompted on the doorstep.

But quiet plotters don’t want to act too quickly, with some key allies willing to give Mr Sunak until summer at the latest to turn the Tories' fortunes around.

The latest Ipsos survey from two weeks ago has Labour 26 points ahead of the Conservatives.

A former minister said: “It’s not 10 to midnight but it’s about 9pm.”

The local elections in May will be a crucial moment for the PM and his biggest critics.

If the party performs badly, which is expected, Boris allies could use it as a call to arms.

But there’s a number of roadblocks they’d face.

One senior MP said it’s not clear whether enough colleagues can “stomach another fight” as much as they'd like to see a change in PM.

And they added that despite the current Cabinet including a handful of Boris supporters, no one in the top team is likely to move against new boss Mr Sunak.

Also, the ex-PM might decide he doesn't even want another go at No10.

The Sun understands no formal leadership chats between him and his MP acolytes have taken place.

For the Boris backers, there’s still a lot of thinking to do.

One told The Sun finding an MP to “stick the knife in” initially wouldn’t be too tough.

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But they question whether enough Tories are willing to pile in and “twist it”.

Meanwhile, Sunak supporters are trying to drum up as much love for their man as they can.

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In Tory WhatsApp groups MPs including Rishi-fan Angela Richardson are frequently sending hype man messages to encourage party unity.

Downing Street didn't respond to a request for comment. 

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