Politics

Boris Johnson ‘does not want to resign’ and wishes he could ‘wipe away’ resignation

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The Prime Minister also told Lord Cruddas of Shoreditch – a former Conservative Party treasurer campaigning to keep him in office – that he “wants to fight the next general election as leader of the Conservative Party”, the peer said.

The pair, who met at Chequers over lunch on Friday, discussed Lord Cruddas’s “bring back Boris” campaign for a second vote among the party’s grassroots to confirm whether they think Mr Johnson should have to resign.

The peer said Mr Johnson had told him he was “rooting for your campaign to succeed”.

Just seven days in, more than 10,000 party members have signed Lord Cruddas’s petition.

He said: “He definitely does not want to resign. He wants to carry on and he believes that, with the membership behind him, he can.”

He went on: “He wants to carry on to finish the job. He wants to fight the next general election as leader of the Conservative Party.”

Lord Cruddas added: “He also said that if there was a general election tomorrow and he was leader of the Conservative Party, he would win a general election, and I agreed with him.”

There appears to be significant support among the party’s membership against the Tory MPs who forced him out earlier this month.

The names of those who sign the petition are being sent to Andrew Stephenson, the chairman at Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

Lord Cruddas said that during the lunch, “Boris thanked me for my ‘Boris on the ballot’ campaign. He wished me well.

“He said he could understand the membership’s anger at what had happened. He said that he wished that he could carry on as PM. He said he does not want to resign.”

Asked by the peer if he would “wipe away” his resignation immediately with “a magic wand”, Mr Johnson reportedly replied: “I would wipe away everything that stops me being PM in a second.”

Last night a Number 10 spokeswoman, said: “The Prime Minister has resigned as party leader and set out his intention to stand down as PM when the new leader is in place.”

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