Jeremy Hunt took a swipe at former foreign secretary Boris Johnson claiming he has a “big job to do” when asked about the future leader of the Conservative Party. Theresa May told her MPs that she would step down as leader before the next stage of Brexit negotiations if her deal got through the House of Commons. Speaking on BBC’s Today programme, host John Humphrys asked the Foreign Secretary about the Tory party’s future leader.
The BBC presenter said: “There is going to be a leadership election obviously, sooner rather than later, sooner probably.
“It is widely reported that your campaign has been underway for several weeks along with others like Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, and all the rest of it.
“But, you are slightly different because you did campaign for Remain, unlike Boris Johnson, for instance.
“Can the next leader be someone who campaigned for Remain given the temper of the country?”
I am Foreign Secretary and have a big job to do to try to get this deal over the line, that has to be my focus
Mr Hunt took a swipe at Mr Johnson during his reply. He said: “Well look, there is one very big difference between Boris Johnson and me and that is that I am Foreign Secretary and have a big job to do to try to get this deal over the line, that has to be my focus.
“I think what matters is we have a cabinet that believes in Brexit, and we believe in Brexit whatever was we voted in the referendum because we are all democrats.
“We think there are great opportunities for this country, whatever choice it makes but I hope you understand there will be a time for those discussions about whether this shade of person or that shade of person is the right type to take over from the Prime Minister but the time for that is when she has announced she is going.”
It comes as Chancellor Philip Hammond reportedly said in a speech at the British embassy in Washington DC the Tories have the “joy of a leadership contest ahead”.
Mr Gove and Mr Johnson became rivals during the 2016 leadership contest which saw the field narrow to Mrs May and Mrs Leadsom.
Mrs Leadsom then dropped out of the contest after controversy was sparked by remarks which appeared to suggest that being a mother put her in a better position to be the leader.
Referring to the leadership battle, The Daily Telegraph reported Mr Hammond as saying: “If you remember last time this happened in 2016, Gove and Johnson knifed each other in an unintended suicide pact. Which left just Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May.
“And then Andrea Leadsom knifed herself in a private suicide pact and Theresa May inherited the prime ministership without anybody casting a single vote.”
Speaking on LBC, chairman of the Conservative Party’s eurosceptic European Research Group claimed Mr Johnson “leading the field” when asked about a future leader.
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